The impact of cultural, psychological and family factors on expatriate family adjustment

Reed, Marnie. The impact of cultural, psychological and family factors on expatriate family adjustment. 2023, Doctoral Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Psychology.


Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/94508/

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With an increasing number of expatriates relocating overseas for work, and a large percentage of whom move with a dependent family, it is essential to identify factors that contribute to positive adjustment in expatriate individuals
and families. Adjustment is important to the success of
expatriate assignments as the inability or failure of a family member to adjust is one of the most common reasons for failed assignments. Consequences of failed assignments are significant, with job loss, divorce, mental health problems, addiction, and financial difficulties cited as some of the potential negative outcomes.
The first aim of this thesis was to understand the current scope of literature on adjustment in expatriate children (also referred to as Third Culture Kids or TCKs). The second aim was to understand the role of cultural, psychological and family factors contributing to sociocultural adjustment in expatriate individuals and families in Switzerland. To address the first aim, a systematic literature review was conducted using only studies which collected data directly from TCKs during their relocation period. For the second aim, qualitative and quantitative data were collected from
expatriate families in Switzerland who had relocated for employment purposes. Quantitative data were collected via online questionnaires comprising of demographic data and validated measures of cultural, psychological, and family factors. For the qualitative study, a sub-sample of families from the quantitative study were randomly selected to participate in an online, semi-structured interview.
Study I used a systematic search across eight databases to identify peer-reviewed journal articles fitting our eligibility criteria. Studies fulfilling the criteria were assessed for the quality of their methodology before data were abstracted, coded and synthesised. Study II utilised a mixed-methods, multi-informant approach to investigate factors contributing to sociocultural adjustment in expatriate families. The quantitative study used multiple regression analysis to determine the contribution of
psychological, cultural and family factors in expatriate child (n= 138) and parent (n= 126) crosscultural
adjustment. Using data from family interviews (n=8), the qualitative study utilised a content analysis approach with coding conducted with the software Max QDA. In the final step of Study II, results from both studies were mixed to determine if findings converged or diverged. In Study III, we first conducted a multiple regression analysis to determine the contribution of cultural intelligence (CQ) and resilience in predicting sociocultural adjustment in expatriate parents (n=126). Second, we tested resilience as both a mediator and moderator in the relationship between CQ and sociocultural adjustment.
In Study I, a number of publications demonstrated the role of cultural, psychological, family, and demographic/environmental factors in TCK adjustment. Results were summarised and the implications for these findings and future directions were indicated. In Study II, the quantitative results indicated that resilience, acculturative stress and cultural intelligence predict cross-cultural adjustment
in expatriate families. Our qualitative results generally converged with quantitative findings, with the exception of family functioning. In Study III, results showed that resilience and cultural intelligence both significantly predicted sociocultural adjustment. Further analyses found that resilience partially mediated the relationship between CQ and sociocultural adjustment, however, the moderation
analysis was not significant.
Findings from these studies have implications for developing targeted prevention and intervention programmes to improve sociocultural adjustment in expatriate children, parents and
families focusing on increasing stress management, resilience-building skills, cultural intelligence, host culture language and agreeableness with moving. The findings also have theoretical implications for developing a model of child and family adjustment and understanding mediating factors in sociocultural adjustment.
Advisors:Gaab, Jens
Committee Members:Ooi, Yoon Phaik
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Health & Intervention > Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie (Gaab)
UniBasel Contributors:Reed, Marnie Olivia and Gaab, Jens and Ooi, Yoon Phaik
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Doctoral Thesis
Thesis no:15019
Thesis status:Complete
Number of Pages:1 Band (verschiedene Seitenzählungen)
Identification Number:
  • urn: urn:nbn:ch:bel-bau-diss150199
edoc DOI:
Last Modified:17 May 2023 11:30
Deposited On:15 May 2023 14:29

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