Understanding the Suicide Determinants Among Asian International College Students in the Us
Suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for all ages and it is reported that college students have higher rate of suicidal intention than those who did not go to college - Understanding the Suicide Determinants Among Asian International College Students in the Us introduction. This study focuses on suicide intentions among 8 Asian international students in US colleges. The themes that came out of the data were: (a) language barrier, (b) being homesick (c) breaking up relationships, (d) Low GPA, and (e) high expectation from parents. Since language barrier was their biggest problem, the study recommends intensive English language training prior to the students’ departure to the US and another intensive language course when the international students arrive. Also, colleges and universities should organize socialization events for the international students and their American classmates to enable them interact with each other.
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Suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for all ages. Every year, nearly one million people die from suicide. Previous research has shown that college students report a higher rate of suicidal intention than those who did not go to college (Schwartz, & Friedman, 2009).
International students from Asian countries are a growing population in US colleges, and keeps growing every year. Asian international students constitute more than 63% of international enrollments at institutions of higher education in the United States (Institute of International Education, 2012). Whereas the prediction of the adjustment of this population to their new home is important, few studies have addressed this issue.
This proposed study focuses on suicide intention among Asian international students in US college because study shows that people from Asian show significantly higher intention of suicide than other international students. In fact, the CDC has reported that, in 2002, suicide was the 8th leading cause of death among Asian students.
Sample selection and recruitment
This proposed study chose a qualitative design to study 8 Asian international students at Indiana University by interviewing them with broad questions about their intention of behavior related to suicide, their feelings and experiences about depression, and positive energy that protect them from suicide. Two participants were selected in each grade of a university. Five of them were Chinese, two of were from South Korea, and the other one was from India. Procedure
Between 30 to 60 minutes individual in-depth interview was conducted with each of the participants. The interview started with open-ended questions related to the research topic. Eight interviews were conducted during two weeks interval. The three leading questions were set up before the interviews. The interviewer asked several extended questions based on the answers of each participant. The leading questions included: – What are some main factors that cause you to be stressed out and/or be in a depressive mood after you came to US? – What are some situations that led you to consider committing suicide after you came to US? What made you change your mind? – How did you deal with your depression after you came to US? Where did you usually seek help?
By analyzing the interview data, researcher seeks determinants of intention that cause participants’ negative behavior associated with suicide, and positive elements that support them to avoid the actual suicide behavior.
Interviewee 1 – Eric, Chinese, junior student
Eric has been in the US for almost three years. The biggest depressions he experienced after he came to the US were breakup with his girlfriend and low GPA. Some other factors included high expectation of his parents, language barrier the uncertainty of his future career after graduation. Interviewee 2 – Sean, Chinese, junior student
He has been in the US for three years. He said he felt depressed all the time, but he already got used to it. He is not a very outgoing person and does not like to make friends with others. He thought of committing suicide in his freshman year. He did not really do it because he did not want to do such a terrible thing to his family Interviewee 3 – May, Chinese, first year student
She just came to the US seven months ago. The main issue now is the language problem. She said her oral English is not so good; she said it is really hard for her to make friends with Americans because of the difficulty in communication. Interviewee 4 – Adam, Chinese, sophomore student
Adam is a second year student. He mentioned that he had language problems in the first year. It is still hard for him to communicate in English now. But he chose not to ask questions in class and talk to his American classmates. He missed home a lot, and went back to China on almost every semester break.
Interviewee 5 – Aziz, Indian, first year student
Aziz said he just love Bloomington although he just arrived here in January. He also mentioned that language is the biggest problem he faces now. Some professors and classmates cannot understand his accent. He missed his family. Interviewee 6 – Choi, South Korean, senior student
Choi will graduate after this summer. She already found a job at Columbus, Indiana, starting in June. Choi said during the four years at IU, she experienced several major depressions, which included breaking-up with her boyfriend, parents’ divorce, homesick (which is related to the divorce), and the pressure of finding job. Interviewee 7 – Christina, South Korean, senior student
Christina will also graduate after this summer. She will go back to South Korea and try to find a job as a news reporter (her major is journalism). The main issue that caused her depression was her language barrier. She also mentioned the difficulty of making friends with Americans. She loves her parents very much, that is why she decided to go back to her country after graduation. She said she did not have many friends here at IU. Christina never thought about committing suicide. She said she won’t do that unless her parents passed away.
Interviewee 8 – Amy, Chinese, sophomore student
Amy came to the US two years ago. She shared a unique story with the interviewer about herself. She attempted suicide last year at IU, and was luckily saved by her roommate.
Summary of Findings
Majority of the participants had not thought about suicide. Those who had thought about suicide said they did not commit suicide because of the love for their family. The biggest problems that contributed to their being depressed and some of them having suicidal thoughts were language barrier, followed by being homesick and breaking up relationships. Low GPA, and high expectation, from parents, and the uncertainty of their future career after graduation Interpretation and Significance
From the data participants’ main problems and experiences had to do with language problems which made it hard for them to communicate in English and ask questions in class and talk to their American classmates. The language problem, some participants said, sometimes stress them out. The study recommends intensive English Language training prior to their departure to the US and another intensive language training when the international students arrive. Also, colleges and universities should organize socialization events for the international students and their American classmates to interact with each other.