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Expatriate family adjustment : an overview of empirical evidence on challenges and resources

Mojca Filipič Sterle (UGent) , Johnny Fontaine (UGent) , Jan De Mol (UGent) and Lesley Verhofstadt (UGent)
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Abstract
The current theoretical paper presents a comprehensive overview of findings from research attempting to understand what happens with expatriates and their families while living abroad. Our paper draws on research on adjustment of individual family members (expatriates, their partners, and children) and families as a whole, across different literatures (e.g., cultural psychology, family psychology, stress literature). The key challenges of expatriation are discussed, as well as family members' resources. Our findings lead to the following conclusions: First, there is lack of systematic research as studies are either missing a theoretical background or largely neglect the multi-informant approach. A comprehensive theory of expatriate family adjustment integrating multiple theoretical perspectives, including the culture identity formation and the impact of home country and host country culture, is called upon. Second, the majority of studies paid little attention to define the concept of family or failed to take into account the cultural aspect of relocation. Third, there is a call for more longitudinal studies including all family members as adjustment is a process that unfolds over time and therefore cannot be sufficiently explained by cross-sectional studies. Suggestions for future research and practical implications are provided, with a special focus on how families could be assisted during their adjustment process.
Keywords
CROSS-CULTURAL ADJUSTMENT, INTERNATIONAL ASSIGNMENTS, PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGICAL REACTIONS, SPOUSAL ADJUSTMENT, SOCIAL SUPPORT, GLOBAL TALENT, WELL, MODEL, WORK, PERFORMANCE, expatriate family adjustment, narrative review, challenges, resources, expatriates, family practice, adjustment disorders, third culture kids

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Chicago
Filipic Sterle, Mojca, Johnny Fontaine, Jan De Mol, and Lesley Verhofstadt. 2018. “Expatriate Family Adjustment : an Overview of Empirical Evidence on Challenges and Resources.” Frontiers in Psychology 9.
APA
Filipic Sterle, M., Fontaine, J., De Mol, J., & Verhofstadt, L. (2018). Expatriate family adjustment : an overview of empirical evidence on challenges and resources. FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY, 9.
Vancouver
1.
Filipic Sterle M, Fontaine J, De Mol J, Verhofstadt L. Expatriate family adjustment : an overview of empirical evidence on challenges and resources. FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY. Lausanne: Frontiers Media Sa; 2018;9.
MLA
Filipic Sterle, Mojca, Johnny Fontaine, Jan De Mol, et al. “Expatriate Family Adjustment : an Overview of Empirical Evidence on Challenges and Resources.” FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY 9 (2018): n. pag. Print.
@article{8578644,
  abstract     = {The current theoretical paper presents a comprehensive overview of findings from research attempting to understand what happens with expatriates and their families while living abroad. Our paper draws on research on adjustment of individual family members (expatriates, their partners, and children) and families as a whole, across different literatures (e.g., cultural psychology, family psychology, stress literature). The key challenges of expatriation are discussed, as well as family members' resources. Our findings lead to the following conclusions: First, there is lack of systematic research as studies are either missing a theoretical background or largely neglect the multi-informant approach. A comprehensive theory of expatriate family adjustment integrating multiple theoretical perspectives, including the culture identity formation and the impact of home country and host country culture, is called upon. Second, the majority of studies paid little attention to define the concept of family or failed to take into account the cultural aspect of relocation. Third, there is a call for more longitudinal studies including all family members as adjustment is a process that unfolds over time and therefore cannot be sufficiently explained by cross-sectional studies. Suggestions for future research and practical implications are provided, with a special focus on how families could be assisted during their adjustment process.},
  articleno    = {1207},
  author       = {Filipič Sterle, Mojca and Fontaine, Johnny and De Mol, Jan and Verhofstadt, Lesley},
  issn         = {1664-1078},
  journal      = {FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY},
  keywords     = {CROSS-CULTURAL ADJUSTMENT,INTERNATIONAL ASSIGNMENTS,PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGICAL REACTIONS,SPOUSAL ADJUSTMENT,SOCIAL SUPPORT,GLOBAL TALENT,WELL,MODEL,WORK,PERFORMANCE,expatriate family adjustment,narrative review,challenges,resources,expatriates,family practice,adjustment disorders,third culture kids},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {13},
  publisher    = {Frontiers Media Sa},
  title        = {Expatriate family adjustment : an overview of empirical evidence on challenges and resources},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01207},
  volume       = {9},
  year         = {2018},
}

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