Relationships between television viewing and adaptation of Thai scholarship students in the United States

Sunsanee Chumnummanee

Abstract

The present study examines the relationships between adaptation of Thai scholarship students and two variables, the students' television viewing behaviors and their television dependency. Also, differences between their television dependency while living in Thailand and in the United States were examined. Two theories, the communication and cross-cultural adaptation theory and the media dependency theory, provide a theoretical foundation for this project. A survey of 343 Thai scholarship students and an in-depth interview of 24 students were used to collect data. Results indicated no significant relationship between the amount of time viewing television and the students' adaptation outcomes. In contrast, the adaptation outcomes were positively related to the students' television dependency and their levels of attention to and interest in television programs. The amount of time watching television is positively related to television dependency, which in turn positively related to adaptation outcomes. Although the amount of time the students spent watching television significantly decreased after they moved to the United States, their television dependency increased in four areas, including dependency for language improvement, action orientation, interaction orientation, and solitary play. Adaptation of the students tends to be moving in the integrative direction. As they learn the host culture and acquire their inter-cultural identities, they also maintain their Thai values.