The relationship among life satisfaction, academic stress, locus of control, and achievement motivation: a comparison of domestic and international students
Karaman, Mehmet Akif
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International students are one of the fastest growing higher education populations in the U.S. Adapting to new environments and cultures is stressful and may affect a student’s life satisfaction and motivation. Knowing how international and domestic students correspond or differentiate in terms of satisfaction of life, academic stress, locus of control, and achievement motivation is important for university administrators and student support personnel. The purpose of this study was to compare locus of control, academic stress, life satisfaction, and achievement motivation across international and domestic college students in the U.S. Participants in this study were 307 international and domestic undergraduate students. The data were collected during the fall 2015 semester at a Hispanic Serving Institution in South Texas. The data were collected utilizing the Smith Achievement Motivation Scale (Smith, Balkin, Karaman, & Arora, 2016), the Internal-External Scale (Rotter, 1966), the Student-life Stress Inventory-Revised (Gadzella & Masten, 2005), and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985). Descriptive statistics and MANOVA were used to analyze the variables in this study. A hierarchical multiple regression was employed to determine the extent locus of control, academic stress, and life satisfaction predicted achievement motivation. In addition, Fisher’s z transformation was used to evaluate whether two regression models were significantly different. The results indicated a statistically significant difference between domestic and international students as related to achievement motivation. Further analysis revealed significant relationships among predictor and criterion variables. Locus of control, academic stress, and life satisfaction significantly explained 18% of the variance in achievement motivation. However, comparison of the fit of the model from domestic and international students revealed no statistically significant differences between the groups. The study has practical implications for college administrators, educators, and college counselors. The results of the study can help college administrators further understand the unique needs of international students, thereby assisting in their adjustment to new environments and educational systems. In addition, perhaps educators can use the results of this study to modify curricular experiences and syllabi to further meet the needs of international students. Also, findings of this study might encourage college counselors to design and implement achievement focused training programs for domestic and international college students to increase their academic success and retention.
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