Publication Date

2014-12-13

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2014-12-13

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Communication Studies (Communication)

Date of Defense

2014-07-30

First Committee Member

Diane M. Millette

Second Committee Member

Shannon Campbell

Third Committee Member

Thomas M. Steinfatt

Fourth Committee Member

George Wilson

Abstract

This study of American undergraduate students explored the communication factors that contribute to their decisions regarding participation in study abroad programs. The theoretical framework proposed that several communication constructs were related to intent to study abroad. Specifically, intercultural communication competence (ICC), and social influence via face-to-face and computer-mediated communication, were proposed to affect intent to study abroad. Hypotheses generated in this research were grounded in literature on the above constructs and guided by the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA; Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). Previous literature found that intercultural attitudes such as openness to other cultures and diversity, ethnocentrism, and intercultural communication apprehension, influenced study abroad participation (Goldstein & Kim, 2006; Salisbury, Paulsen, & Pascarella, 2011; Stroud, 2010). Given previous data, it was hypothesized that ICC would influence intent to study abroad. In addition, the impressionability of college-aged students and the widespread use of social networking sites (SNSs) led to the hypothesis that online activities by peers regarding study abroad would influence participant intent to study abroad. Results of this study indicated that participant level of intercultural communication competence was not a predictor of intent to study abroad. This result signifies that students were interested in studying abroad regardless of their level of intercultural communication competence. On the other hand, face-to-face communication and computer-mediated communication were both predictors of intent to study abroad. This result means that students were influenced by online communication with peers and face-to-face communication people important to them, such as faculty, advisors, parents, and friends. Study implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Keywords

intercultural communication competence; study abroad; computer mediated communication; intercultural competence; college students; theory of reasoned action

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