Comparing the Psychological Well-Being of International and Domestic Students


  • Laurie Baker
  • Shaza Zahir Hassan
  • Christine Huang
  • Karolina Kalashnikova
  • Monserrat Ramirez Ruvalcaba


Post-secondary students are an at-risk category in need of immediate assistance as previous research indicates that they experience high levels of both stress and negative emotions in addition to having poor physical and mental well-being. Many post-secondary institutions now focus on addressing the needs of their students to better assist, support and improve their psychological well-being. Considering that international students make up a significant and growing portion of the McMaster community, it is crucial to provide adequate support to better address the needs of this student population. The intention of this paper is to explore and compare the psychological well-being of international students and domestic students. We focused on three different dimensions of psychological well-being as they pertain to each participant. These dimensions include the following: help-seeking behaviour, social support, and relatedness. Using survey research, we utilized quantitive data and qualitative accounts to gauge how the unique experiences of each student group would account for variations in the three key dimensions. Our findings reveal that domestic students had access to more sources of support and higher knowledge regarding help-seeking resources, but, their psychological well-being was slightly lower than that of international students. This research serves as a foundation for understanding the complexity of group-specific student needs. Findings relevant to each dimension can be used to inform university initiatives that cater to mental health needs.






Thesis Papers