Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Chwalisz, Kathleen

Second Advisor

Knutson, Douglas


The United States is a top destination for international students looking for career advancement and employment opportunities that are connected to their attendance at domestic colleges and universities. Thus, studying the career needs of international students within the context of work in the 21st century has implications for career counseling. A critical factor in career counseling is career decision-making. Career decision-making difficulties have been linked to tolerance of ambiguity, or how people react to ambiguous situations. However, the association between these variables has not been replicated in international student populations. When examining international students who transition cross-culturally, it is essential to consider the influence of cultural orientation (i.e., collectivist or individualist) on their career decisions. In this study, I explored if cultural orientation moderates the relationship between ambiguity tolerance and career decision-making difficulties among international students. I recruited 162 undergraduate and graduate international student participants in the U.S. I used three separate measures to assess career decision-making difficulties, tolerance of ambiguity, and cultural orientation at one point in time. I found evidence that tolerance of ambiguity is significantly, negatively associated with career decision-making difficulties. Individualistic, but not collectivistic cultural orientation, moderated the relationship between tolerance of ambiguity and career decision-making difficulties. These findings allow for a better understanding of the cultural factors influencing international students’ career concerns.




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