International Student Adjustment Scale (ISAS): Toward a Holistic Understanding of Adjustment Experience

  • Sarifah Nurhanum Syed Sahuri Faculty of Major Language Studies, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, 71800 Nilai, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia.
  • Rachel Wilson School of Management, UTS Business School, University of Technology Sydney, 2008 New South Wales, Australia.
Keywords: ISAS, International student, Adjustment, Academic, Social, Psychological


Previous research has established that how students feel and make practical adjustments in international education settings is pivotal to their educational and personal progress. This study introduces the International Student Adjustment Scale (ISAS), a novel instrument designed to capture the multifaceted adjustment experience of international students abroad. Qualitative analysis of interviews and diaries (n=26) underscored the need for a more nuanced understanding of adjustment as a dynamic process encompassing academic, sociocultural, and psychological domains. Informed by existing adjustment theories and validated measures, we crafted a comprehensive 30-item scale – the ISAS. To assess its efficacy, the ISAS was administered to a cohort of Malaysian students studying in Australia (N=371). Exploratory Factor Analysis confirmed the presence of three distinct sub-scales: academic adjustment, sociocultural adjustment, and psychological adjustment, each containing two to three further factors. Additionally, the scale demonstrated strong internal consistency (α = .72 to .87). These results are encouraging for future research endeavours that delve deeper into the concept of international student adjustment. With further validation across diverse student populations, the ISAS holds significant potential as a tool for developing optimal learning environments and experiences that support successful student adjustment within the international higher education landscape.


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How to Cite
Syed Sahuri, S. N. and Wilson, R. (2024) “International Student Adjustment Scale (ISAS): Toward a Holistic Understanding of Adjustment Experience”, Malaysian Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities (MJSSH), 9(5), p. e002808. doi: 10.47405/mjssh.v9i5.2808.