Adjustment and Strain among Domestic and International Student Sojourners: A Longitudinal Study

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Every year, a growing number of students leave their home environments and relocate to study at universities abroad. Relocation, however, can be a challenging and stressful experience. This longitudinal study surveyed 294 international and domestic student sojourners to examine and compare their adjustment and distress or strain responses during the first six months of their entry into a medium-sized, mid-western US state university. The findings revealed that international student sojourners, compared to domestic sojourners, had greater difficulty in adjusting during their initial transition into the university. Although sojourners experienced increasing adjustment over time, the pattern of strain was curvilinear, peaking three months after the start of the semester. Self-efficacy, social support and cultural novelty predicted adjustment and strain at different times during the transition period.