Cross-Cultural Perspective: A Literature Review of Social Media Use and Psychological Adaptation Among Chinese International Students

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Zhao Wenwen, Mohd Nizam Bin Osman


Nowadays, studying abroad has gradually become a natural or common phenomenon. As the largest source of international students in the world, the issue about Chinese students’ adaptation in foreign environments has always been the focus of scholars. Since social media has become an important tool for international students to adapt to the host country, studies on the relationship between social media usage and adaptation are gradually increasing. Using electronic and manual retrieval methods, this paper reviewed 14 quantitative studies on Chinese students' social media usage and psychological adaptation from 2010 to 2020. This literature review indicated the main characteristics of current research from five aspects, namely publication time, types of social media, theories, measurement of the main variables, and conceptual framework. Results found that there existed conflicting conclusions about the relationship between social media usage and psychological adaptation, one of the main reasons was that the measurements of the two variables were different. Secondly, the location of the study also played a role. The cultural differences between the East and the West may lead to different conclusions in studies conducted in Asian and western countries. Although these studies collected data through questionnaires to verify the impact of social media use on psychological adaptation, it is difficult to determine the causal relationship through a cross-sectional survey.

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