In what ways homesickness can influence academic performance in first-year international students, particular within the UCLA community?
Baker, S. R. (2004). Intrinsic, extrinsic, and amotivational orientations: Their role in universityadjustment, stress, well-being, and subsequent academic performance. Current Psychology,23(3), 189-202. doi:10.1007/s12144-004-1019-9
Baker’s research aims to examine the association between college students’ motivation levels and their adjustment to university life. Baker suggests that higher levels of intrinsic motivation would tend to help students overcome maladjustment when first coming to college, and also generally predict a better academic performance.
Baker’s findings are useful in directing my research into the intrinsic factors of homesickness. Although homesickness is a result of moving to a new environment (extrinsic factors seem to influence more), internal changes in first-year college students should also be emphasized. Since Baker presents that motivation is related to academic performance, a comparison between an individual’s motivational level before and after enrolling in college may be necessary.
Carr, S., Colthurst, K., Coyle, M., & Elliott, D. (2012). Attachment dimensions as predictors ofmental health and psychosocial well-being in the transition to university. European Journal of Psychology of Education,28(2), 157-172. doi:10.1007/s10212-012-0106-9
Carr’s research builds onto Bowlby’s attachment theory and evaluates first-year college students’ self-reported psychological concerns and expected adjustment level prior to actual entrance using the “Vulnerable Attachment Styles Questionnaire” (157). Carr’s results have narrowed individual’s attachment style into two categories: the insecurity dimension and a proximity seeking dimension. If one’s insecurity dimension is prominent while the proximity-seeking one is relatively low, then he or she is less likely to development bonds to the new environment.
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This research is indispensable because Carr’s attachment dimensions show that the deciding factor behind whether one would exert active control on the level of homesickness is their perceived psychological status. Thus, it suggests that the present study should take further steps in tracing specific indicators behind the two dimensions. For example, in what ways we can identify students’ insecurity level or proximity-seeking levels? Are these indicators shared among first-year international students in UCLA? If the current study is able to find out a common indicator within students’ daily life, then the association between homesickness and academic performance can be better elaborated.
Fisher, S., & Hood, B. (1987). The stress of the transition to university: A longitudinal study ofpsychological disturbance, absent-mindedness and vulnerability to homesickness. British Journal of Psychology,78(4), 425-441. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8295.1987.tb02260.x
This much-cited research from Fisher et al. focuses on the long-term effects of homesickness on individuals’ psychological status. Through this longitudinal study, Fisher et al. compares the effects of transitional period into college on residential students and home-based students, emphasizing that homesickness may evolve from absent mindedness to increased anxiety and possibly to depression.
Although Fisher et al. do not particularly focus on how homesickness would influence international students whose home are farther away, their research is helpful in confirming the importance of research on homesickness. The effects of homesickness should not be overlooked as this seemingly-minor problem may signify the onset of severe anxiety and depression. Guided by this indication, my study on academic performance should also take psychological factors into consideration, such as students’ stress or nervousness in taking their first college exams.
Nijhof, K. S., & Engels, R. C. (2007). Parenting styles, coping strategies, and the expression ofhomesickness. Journal of Adolescence,30(5), 709-720. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2006.11.009
Nijhof et al. examines four parenting styles including authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved type and how these parental styles might determine college students’ coping mechanism when transitioning to a new environment.
This research is particular useful as it guides current studies on homesickness to look beyond individual or school factors. Parents, who seem to play less of a role in influencing a college student may actually still be one of the pushing factors behind homesickness. The study offers an alternative look at individuals’ homesickness, implying that if coping mechanism is successful, homesickness would not deteriorate into a psychological problem that might affect both academic performance or one’s mental well-being. In addition, since this study only discusses four types of parental styles, it inspires current research, particularly those focus on international students, to look more closely on the cultural background or context that may play a role in parental styles.
Poyrazli, S., & Lopez, M. D. (2007). An Exploratory Study of Perceived Discrimination and
Homesickness: A Comparison of International Students and American Students. The Journal of Psychology,141(3), 263-280. doi:10.3200/jrlp.141.3.263-280
Poyrazli et al. narrow the research perspective on how self-reported discrimination may affect the level of homesickness one experiences. The research compares international and American students in a college, investigating some factors acting behind self -perceived discrimination, such as linguistic fluency, years of residence, and cultural differences.
Unique in its specific emphasis on international students, Poyrali et al.’s research results cater to explain why international students may experience higher level of homesickness. Besides the geographical distance, students would also develop perceived distance in their mind, thus deepening the sense of isolation. The perceived distance is important in understanding the social scopes of academic performance, such as in-class participation and group projects.
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