Older and more experienced: Examining mainland Chinese international students in Canada on social cognitive correlates of leisure time physical activity, acculturation, and mental health


In this study, first year (n = 92), second year (n = 52), and senior (n = 77) Chinese international students were compared on measures of physical activity, self-efficacy, intention, access, stress, acculturative stress, subjective well-being, acculturation, and self-construal. Relationships of these variables to physical activity were also examined. Senior students had lower perceptions of places to do physical activity and higher perceptions of discrimination compared to first and second year students. Senior students also experienced more academic pressure and guilt towards their family compared to second year students. First year students reported more general stress compared to second year students and walked more than seniors. Self-efficacy, intention, and exercise to reduce stress shared relationships with vigorous physical activity. Subjective well-being was related to moderate physical activity, and self-efficacy and independent self-construal were related to walking. Health behavior should be considered in within changing student contexts.

Acknowledgments: Thank you to Jingjing Gui, Nani Yan, Chen Chen for helping translate the instruments used in this study.