Asian Indian International Students’ Trajectories of Depression, Acculturation, and Enculturation

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The present study examined group-based differences in depression, acculturation, and enculturation trajectories and identified predictors of depression trajectories for 114 Asian Indian graduate students during their first academic year in the United States. Using group-based trajectory modeling, we identified the following 3 depression trajectories: students in the low-improving group began the year with relatively few depressive symptoms, which further decreased over time; students in the low-stable group began the year with few depression symptoms, which remained stable over time; and students in the high-declining group initially had the highest depressive symptomatology, and their symptoms worsened over time. Acculturation trajectories included a low-decreasing group that had the lowest acculturation level initially and became even less acculturated over time; a high-stable group that had consistently high acculturation; and a mid-stable group that had consistently moderate levels of acculturation. Enculturation trajectories included a low-decreasing group that had a relatively lower level of initial enculturation and experienced a reduction in enculturation over time, and a high-stable group that showed high levels of enculturation that remained stable over time. One-way analyses of variance (ANOVAs) indicated that higher acculturation, a greater number of in-group sources of support, fewer academic and financial concerns, and lower perceived degree of adjustment at the beginning of the study significantly distinguished among depression trajectories, with the largest differences typically seen between the low-improving and high-declining groups. Recognition of distinct depression, acculturation, and enculturation patterns and predictors of depression can strengthen support services for Asian Indian international students in U.S. universities.

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