People deal differently with challenges in their lives, depending on who they are. We propose to investigate how differences in character help to understand how students deal with adversity.

Students face different types of adversity, including academic stress (e.g., the pressure to perform, negative feedback) and, in the case of international students, acculturative stress (i.e., the stress associated with staying abroad). International students are increasing in number world-wide, including in the Netherlands, but little is known about how these geographically and culturally mobile populations deal with academic and acculturative stress and adversity.

We used a longitudinal, experience sampling study to investigate how character affects how international and Dutch students deal with different types of adversity. We expected that individuals’ characters are predictive of adjustment and academic success. Understanding, not only differences between groups of students, but also differences between individuals’ characters and their unique ways of dealing with challenges will be instrumental to increase intervention effectiveness (e.g., introduction weeks, counselling practices, activities of student associations).

Study Profile:

  • Sample size: ~250 subjects
  • Data sources:
    Surveys.

Research Team:

Dr. Michael Bender Tilburg University Michael Bender, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Social Psychology
Tilburg University, NL
Dr. Jia He Tilburg University Jia He, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Methodology
Tilburg University, NL
Dr. Mark Brandt Tilburg University Mark Brandt, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Social Psychology
Tilburg University, NL