Advertisement

Effects of online and direct contact on Chinese international students’ social capital in intercultural networks: testing moderation of direct contact and mediation of global competence

  • Chun CaoEmail author
  • Qian Meng
Article

Abstract

Chinese international students often face daunting challenges of building intercultural networks and receiving support from outgroup members. To facilitate their social integration, this study proposed a research model investigating the relationships of online and direct intergroup contact to social capital in intercultural networks (social support resource networks built among culturally different students). We also examined whether the three dimensions of global competence (global knowledge, attitudes, and skills) can mediate these relationships and whether direct contact can moderate the relationships of online contact to global competence and social capital. Data were collected from 210 Chinese students in Belgium. The results revealed that direct contact was positively related to both bonding and bridging social capital, through the mediators of global skills and attitudes. Online contact was related to the predicted variables in a more complex way. The moderation analyses revealed direct contact as an important moderator that modified effects of online contact. Specifically, online contact was positively related to global skills and bonding social capital at low, rather than high, levels of direct contact. Besides, online contact was negatively related to global attitudes at low, rather than high, levels of direct contact.

Keywords

Chinese international student Direct contact Online contact Global competence Social capital 

Notes

Funding information

The study is funded by the Humanities and Social Sciences Project of the Ministry of Education of China (Grant Number 18YJC740063)

References

  1. Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Allport, G. W. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Reading: Addison Wesley.Google Scholar
  3. Ang, C. S. (2017). Internet habit strength and online communication: Exploring gender differences. Computers in Human Behavior, 66, 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bagozzi, R. P., & Yi, Y. (1988). On the evaluation of structural equation models. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 16(1), 74–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bandalos, D. L., & Finney, S. J. (2001). Item parceling issues in structural equation modeling. In G. A. Marcoulides & R. E. Schumacker (Eds.), New developments and techniques in structural equation modeling (pp. 269–296). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc..Google Scholar
  6. Bonetti, L., Campbell, M. A., & Gilmore, L. (2010). The relationship of loneliness and social anxiety with children’s and adolescents’ online communication. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 13(3), 279–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. G. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp. 241–258). New York: Greenwood.Google Scholar
  8. Byrne, B. (2010). Structural equation modeling with AMOS. Basic concepts, applications, and programming. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Cao, C., Zhu, D. C., & Meng, Q. (2016). An exploratory study of inter-relationships of acculturative stressors among Chinese students from six European Union (EU) countries. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 55, 8–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cao, C., Zhu, C., & Meng, Q. (2017). Predicting Chinese international students’ acculturation strategies from socio-demographic variables and social ties. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 20(2), 85–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cao, C., Zhu, C., & Meng, Q. (2018). Chinese international students’ coping strategies, social support resources in response to academic stressors: Does heritage culture or host context matter? Current Psychology.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-018-9929-0.
  12. Cheung, G. W., & Lau, R. S. (2007). Testing mediation and suppression effects of latent variables: Bootstrapping with structural equation models. Organizational Research Methods, 11, 296–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chi, R., & Suthers, D. (2015). Assessing intercultural communication competence as a relational construct using social network analysis. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 48, 108–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chin, W. W. (1998). The partial least squares approach to structural equation modeling. In G. A. Marcoulides (Ed.), Modern methods for business research (pp. 295–336). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  15. Christ, O., Hewstone, M., Tausch, N., Wagner, U., Voci, A., Hughes, J., & Cairns, E. (2010). Direct contact as a moderator of extended contact effects: Cross-sectional and longitudinal impact on outgroup attitudes, behavioral intentions, and attitude certainty. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36(12), 1662–1674.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cudo, A., Dobosz, M., Jarząbek-Cudo, A., & Basaj, Ł. (2016). Problematic internet use and intrapersonal and interpersonal attitudes in adolescents. Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 25(3), 159–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dhont, K., & Van Hiel, A. (2011). Direct contact and authoritarianism as moderators between extended contact and reduced prejudice: Lower threat and greater trust as mediators. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 14(2), 223–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of Facebook “friends:” social capital and college students’ use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4), 1143–1168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Florack, A., Rohmann, A., Palcu, J., & Mazziotta, A. (2014). How initial cross-group friendships prepare for intercultural communication: The importance of anxiety reduction and self-confidence in communication. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 43, 278–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gil de Zúñiga, H., & Valenzuela, S. (2011). The mediating path to a stronger citizenship: Online and offline networks, weak ties, and civic engagement. Communication Research, 38(3), 397–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. God, Y. T., & Zhang, H. (2018). Intercultural challenges, intracultural practices: How Chinese and Australian students understand and experience intercultural communication at an Australian university. Higher Education.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-018-0344-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Guo, Y., Li, Y., & Ito, N. (2014). Exploring the predicted effect of social networking site use on perceived social capital and psychological well-being of Chinese international students in Japan. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 17(1), 52–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hasler, B. S., & Amichai-Hamburger, Y. (2013). Online intergroup contact. In Y. Amichai-Hamburger (Ed.), The social net: Understanding our online behavior (pp. 220–252). New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hunter, B., White, G. P., & Godbey, G. (2006). What does it mean to be globally competent? Journal of Studies in International Education, 10, 267–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Indian, M., & Grieve, R. (2014). When Facebook is easier than face-to-face: Social support derived from Facebook in socially anxious individuals. Personality and Individual Differences, 59, 102–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Johnson, P. R., Boyer, M. A., & Brown, S. W. (2011). Vital interests: Cultivating global competence in the international studies classroom. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 9(3–4), 503–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jon, J. E. (2013). Realizing internationalization at home in Korean higher education: Promoting domestic students’ interaction with international students and intercultural competence. Journal of Studies in International Education, 17(4), 455–470.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kormos, J., Csizér, K., & Iwaniec, J. (2014). A mixed-method study of language-learning motivation and intercultural contact of international students. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 35, 151–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Korol, L., Fietzer, A. W., & Ponterotto, J. G. (2018). The relationship between multicultural personality, intergroup contact, and positive outgroup attitudes toward Asian Americans. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 9(3), 200–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kwon, Y. (2013). The sociocultural adjustment of Chinese graduate students at Korean universities: A qualitative study. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 37(5), 536–549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Leask, B., & Carroll, J. (2011). Moving beyond ‘wishing and hoping’: Internationalisation and student experiences of inclusion and engagement. Higher Education Research and Development, 30(5), 647–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lebedeva, N., Tatarko, A., & Berry, J. W. (2016). Intercultural relations among migrants from Caucasus and Russians in Moscow. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 52, 27–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lee, M. (2010). Researching social capital in education: Some conceptual considerations relating to the contribution of network analysis. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 31(6), 779–792.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lee, C., Sung, Y. T., Zhou, Y., & Lee, S. (2018). The relationships between the seriousness of leisure activities, social support and school adaptation among Asian international students in the US. Leisure Studies, 37(2), 197–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lev-On, A., & Lissitsa, S. (2015). Studying the coevolution of social distance, offline-and online contacts. Computers in Human Behavior, 48, 448–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Li, Y. (2013). Cultivating student global competence: A pilot experimental study. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 11, 125–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Li, X., & Chen, W. (2014). Facebook or Renren? A comparative study of social networking site use and social capital among Chinese international students in the United States. Computers in Human Behavior, 35(2), 116–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Li, C., & Tsai, W. H. S. (2015). Social media usage and acculturation: A test with Hispanics in the US. Computers in Human Behavior, 45, 204–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lin, N. (1999). Building a network theory of social capital. Connections, 22(1), 28–51.Google Scholar
  40. Little, T. D., Cunningham, W. A., Shahar, G., & Widaman, K. F. (2002). To parcel or not to parcel: Exploring the question, weighing the merits. Structural Equation Modeling, 9(2), 151–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Liu, X., & Shaffer, M. A. (2005). An investigation of expatriate adjustment and performance: A social capital perspective. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 5(3), 235–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. McKenna, K. Y., Green, A. S., & Gleason, M. E. (2002). Relationship formation on the internet: What’s the big attraction? Journal of Social Issues, 58(1), 9–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Meng, Q., Zhu, C., & Cao, C. (2017). The role of intergroup contact and acculturation strategies in developing Chinese international students’ global competence. Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, 46(3), 210–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Meng, Q., Zhu, C., & Cao, C. (2018). Chinese international students’ social connectedness, social and academic adaptation: The mediating role of global competence. Higher Education, 75(1), 131–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Moon, S. J., & Park, C. Y. (2007). Media effects on acculturation and biculturalism: A case study of Korean immigrants in Los Angeles’ Koreatown. Mass Communication and Society, 10(3), 319–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. OECD. (2015). Education at a glance 2015: OECD indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing.  https://doi.org/10.1787/eag-2015-en.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pang, H. (2018). Exploring the beneficial effects of social networking site use on Chinese students’ perceptions of social capital and psychological well-being in Germany. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 67, 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pettigrew, T. F., & Tropp, L. R. (2008). How does intergroup contact reduce prejudice? Meta-analytic tests of three mediators. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38(6), 922–934.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Pham, L., & Tran, L. (2015). Understanding the symbolic capital of intercultural interactions: A case study of international students in Australia. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 25(3), 204–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Lee, J. Y., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2003). Common method biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(5), 879–903.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Portes, A. (1998). Social capital: Its origins and applications in modern sociology. Annual Review of Sociology, 24(1), 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Presbitero, A., & Attar, H. (2018). Intercultural communication effectiveness, cultural intelligence and knowledge sharing: Extending anxiety-uncertainty management theory. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 67, 35–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Putnam, R. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  54. Reimers, F. M. (2009). Global competency: Educating the world. Harvard International Review, 30, 24–28.Google Scholar
  55. Schmid, K., Hewstone, M., Tausch, N., Cairns, E., & Hughes, J. (2009). Antecedents and consequences of social identity complexity: Intergroup contact, distinctiveness threat, and outgroup attitudes. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35(8), 1085–1098.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Searle, W., & Ward, C. (1990). The prediction of psychological and sociocultural adjustment during cross-cultural transitions. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 14, 449–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Shrout, P. E., & Bolger, N. (2002). Mediation in experimental and nonexperimental studies: New procedures and recommendations. Psychological Methods, 7(4), 422–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Smart, D., Volet, S., & Ang, G. (2000). Fostering social cohesion in universities: Bridging the cultural divide. Canberra: Australian Education International Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs.Google Scholar
  59. Soria, K. M., & Troisi, J. (2014). Internationalization at home alternatives to study abroad implications for students’ development of global, international, and intercultural competencies. Journal of Studies in International Education, 18(3), 261–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Torres, L., & Rollock, D. (2004). Acculturative distress among Hispanics: The role of acculturation, coping, and intercultural competence. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 32(3), 155–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Trahar, S., & Hyland, F. (2011). Experiences and perceptions of internationalisation in higher education in the UK. Higher Education Research and Development, 30, 623–633.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Vezzali, L., Hewstone, M., Capozza, D., Trifiletti, E., & Bernardo, G. A. D. (2017). Improving intergroup relations with extended contact among young children: Mediation by intergroup empathy and moderation by direct intergroup contact. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 27(1), 35–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wang, I., Ahn, J. N., Kim, H. J., & Lin-Siegler, X. (2017). Why do international students avoid communicating with Americans. Journal of International Students, 7(3), 555–582.Google Scholar
  64. Ward, C. (2006). International students: Interpersonal, institutional and community impacts. Wellington: Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  65. Weiqin, E. L., Campbell, M., Kimpton, M., Wozencroft, K., & Orel, A. (2016). Social capital on Facebook: The impact of personality and online communication behaviors. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 54(6), 747–786.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wellman, B., Haase, A. Q., Witte, J., & Hampton, K. (2001). Does the internet increase, decrease, or supplement social capital? Social networks, participation, and community commitment. American Behavioral Scientist, 45(3), 436–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Williams, D. (2006). On and off the’net: Scales for social capital in an online era. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11(2), 593–628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Wilson, M. S., & Dalton, M. A. (1997). Understanding the demands of leading in a global environment: A first step. Issues and Observations, 17(1/2), 12–14.Google Scholar
  69. Wilson, J., Ward, C., & Fischer, R. (2013). Beyond culture learning theory: What can personality tell us about cultural competence? Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 44(6), 900–927.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Ying, Y. W. (2002). Formation of cross-cultural relationships of Taiwanese international students in the United States. Journal of Community Psychology, 30(1), 45–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Zhou, Y., Jindal-Snape, D., Topping, K., & Todman, J. (2008). Theoretical models of culture shock and adaptation in international students in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 33(1), 63–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northeast Normal UniversityChangchunChina
  2. 2.Changchun University of Science and TechnologyChangchunChina

Personalised recommendations