International students’ social media use and social adjustment

Hyunjin Seo, Ren-Whei Harn, Husain Ebrahim, José Aldana


Based on a survey of international students enrolled in a U.S. university, this study examines how social media use is associated with perceived social support and adjustment when demographic and social psychological characteristics are controlled for. Our research shows that level of social media use is positively associated with level of perceived social adjustment but not with level of perceived social support. International students don’t feel comfortable discussing their distress via social media due to complex cultural internetworking present in the online networking sphere. The results of this study indicate that in studying this topic we should take into account both common challenges in getting social support online and special circumstances facing international students. The current study offers scholarly and policy implications for providing relevant social, academic, and professional resources to international students in the United States — a group that has significantly grown in numbers in the past decade.


social media; social support; social adjustment; international students; higher education

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