Psychological Health and Japanese Students

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

Paula Green


This paper explores how the cultural values one holds play a role when he/she tries to cope with stress. As an intern working with international students at an ESL program in the U.S., I realized that they were as likely to have psychological health problems as those in regular academic programs. Because of my nationality and difficulties I have experienced in maintaining my own psychological health as an international student, I became interested in how Japanese students, in particular, cope with stress and retain their psychological balance.

In Asian culture, expressing emotional problems is stigmatized, and people tend to cope with concerns and problems by themselves or rely on family and friends for support so that they would not lose face. (Marsella and Dash-Scheuer 1988) If students keep problems to themselves because of the stigma, how do they deal with them when they are away from family and friends? Do cultural values work against them and make them more susceptible to psychological health problems?

With the assumption that Japanese cultural values influence how Japanese students at the Center for English Language and Orientation Programs (CELOP) at Boston University cope with stress, I surveyed and interviewed these students. I also spoke with counselors who had experiences with Asian students. The result of the questionnaire and the interviews were analyzed using theoretical frameworks of Geert Hofstede and Edward T. Hall. Finally, I will make recommendations to CELOP on how it could help Japanese and possibly other Asian students with their psychological well-being.


International and Comparative Education | International and Intercultural Communication

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