Prof. Zheya Jenny Yu
Prof. Zheya Jenny Yu
University of Pennsylvania, USA

Objective: As the number of Chinese international students studying in the US increases, it is crucial for child and adolescent mental health professionals to become familiar with the mental health challenges this population faces, and to be equipped with specific strategies to help them.

Background: So far most studies on international students in the US focused on undergraduate and graduate students; very little is documented about middle and high school students studying here. Like college students, these younger age students face significant but developmentally more challenging stresses, including separation from their parents, adjusting to a new school and cultural environment, language barriers and learning how to advocate for themselves when living with host families. Misra et al. described how international students endure two types of stressors: the initial stressors of life stress related to cultural adjustments, language and financial problems; and the secondary stressors surrounding academic success. Yan & Berliner used Berry’s stress-coping framework to illustrate Chinese international students’ personal and sociocultural stressors in the United States. Difficulties in coping with these stresses can lead to academic and/or social emotional issues. Without appropriate support and help, these students may face dire consequences.


1). Speaker will present the knowledge and experience by presenting specific clinical cases and sharing clinical insights.

2). Speaker will discuss the systems of care that might be involved in treating Chinese international students.

3). Speaker will highlight the unique legal, cultural and educational concerns that these international students face.

Results: Obtaining knowledge on the topic of unique mental health challenges of Chinese international students will help mental health professionalsbuilding culturally competent clinical practices. This, in turn, will improve the care and outcome of Chinese international students with potential emotional/behavioral/academic difficulties. 

Conclusion: Given the ever-expanding diversity and needs of 21st century children in the United States, child and adolescent mental health professionals will greatly benefit from expertise and knowledge concerning their clinical experiences on this topic, where research and resource have been limited.


Schofield, D.W., Al-Mateen, C.S., Hardy, L.T., Yu, Z.J. and Pumariega, A.Management of a Mental Health Crisis in an International High School Exchange Student: A Case Study.Adolescent Psychiatry 3: 52-60, 2013

Misra, R. Crist, M, andBurant, C. J. Relationships among life stress, social support, academic stressors, and reactions to stressors of international students in the United States. International Journal of Stress Management, 10 (2), 137-157, 2003

Yan, K and Berliner, D. C. Chinese international students’ personal and sociocultural stressors in the United States. Journal of College Student Development 54 (1), 62-84, 2013

Berry, J. W. Immigration, acculturation, and adaption. Applied Psychology: An International Review 46, 5-34, 1997