Psychological well-being and self-construal among Asian International students: The effect of frame switching

Michele Barakett Smith, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to investigate cultural frame switching and well-being in Asian international students. Specifically, it sought to establish whether it is possible to experimentally manipulate the self-construal of Asian international students using a cultural prime, and whether self-construal priming would have an effect on the factor structure of commonly used measures of well-being in Asian international students. Also, it investigated whether commonly used instruments for assessing well-being are valid for use with Asian international students. Finally, it queried whether there are differences in mean scores on the Subjective Well-Being (SWB) and Psychological Well-Being (PWB) scales between groups primed with independent versus interdependent self-construal. ^ The participants were 447 Asian international students in the United States. They completed two self-construal priming tasks, and four surveys via the internet. The surveys included in the study were: the Self Construal Scale (Singelis, 1994); the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (Watson, Clark & Tellegen, 1988); the Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen & Griffin, 1985); and the Well-Being Inventory (Ryff, 1989). ^ A repeated measure analysis of variance found a statistically significant interaction between prime condition and self-construal, but not in the predicted direction. Self-construal priming did not affect the factor structure of the well-being measures in either subsample; however confirmatory factor analyses found that a two-factor solution (SWB and PWB) was unacceptable in both subsamples. A more parsimonious solution was produced by a one-factor model of the correlations among the nine well-being subscales. Separate exploratory factor analyses of the SWB and PWB subscales using a pooled sample resulted in a two-factor solution for SWB and a one-factor solution for PWB. Finally, mean differences were found between subgroups primed with independence and interdependence for PWB, but for not for SWB. ^ Findings are discussed in terms of implications for clinical practice with Asian international students and for the measurement of well-being across cultural groups. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Experimental|Psychology, Personality

Recommended Citation

Smith, Michele Barakett, "Psychological well-being and self-construal among Asian International students: The effect of frame switching" (2009). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3361466.