Mazni Mustapha


The aim of the study was to examine the determinants of well-being in Malaysian students at home and overseas. Prior to the main study, interviews were conducted with seven PhD students of Malaysia studying in Plymouth, to explore their needs and values, and their adaptation experiences in terms of missing and enjoyment experiences abroad. Based on the interview findings and literature reviews, a questionnaire was developed and named as the Adaptation to Life Index, which consisted of two scales - ‘missing experience’ and ‘enjoyment experience’. A longitudinal survey was carried out using Malaysian students in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the US, Ireland, and Canada as well as students who remained in Malaysia. At Time 1, data were collected from 1118 students who were enrolling at various overseas preparatory studying programmes and 972 first year students in one of the public university in Malaysia who were continuing their education in Malaysia. Measurements used were the Big Five Personality Inventory (John, Donahue, & Kentle, 1991), Schwartz’s Short Value Scale (SSVS) (Lindeman & Verkasalo, 2005; Schwartz, 1992), Positive and Negative Affect Scales (PANAS) (Watson, et al, 1988), Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) (Diener, et al., 1985), perceived stress scale (based on the results of Malaysian Certificate of Education and perceived English language fluency), and a section on socio-demographic background. At time 2, 30 % of the participants (N= 628) were retained. Life satisfaction for home students remained constant over time. However, life satisfaction for overseas students started much lower at Time 1 but increased at Time 2. Results showed that life satisfaction at time 1 strongly predicted life satisfaction at Time 2, but neither personality nor values were predicted life satisfaction at Time 2. Personality and values at Time 1 predicted ‘missing experience at Time 2 and in the overseas students, being fluent in English predicted less ‘missing experience’. There were few predictors of Time 1 for ‘enjoyment’ at Time 2, but fluency with English predicted better enjoyment.

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