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The highs and lows of a cultural transition: A longitudinal analysis of sojourner stress and adaptation across 50 countries

Demes, KA and Geeraert, N (2015) 'The highs and lows of a cultural transition: A longitudinal analysis of sojourner stress and adaptation across 50 countries.' Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109 (2). 316 - 337. ISSN 0022-3514

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The impact of living abroad is a topic that has intrigued researchers for almost a century, if not longer. While many acculturation phenomena have been studied over this time, the development of new research methods and statistical software in recent years means that these can be revisited and examined in a more rigorous manner. In the present study we were able to follow approximately 2,500 intercultural exchange students situated in over 50 different countries worldwide, over time both before and during their travel using online surveys. Advanced statistical analyses were employed to examine the course of sojourners stress and adjustment over time, its antecedents and consequences. By comparing a sojourner sample with a control group of nonsojourning peers we were able to highlight the uniqueness of the sojourn experience in terms of stress variability over time. Using Latent Class Growth Analysis to examine the nature of this variability revealed 5 distinct patterns of change in stress experienced by sojourners over the course of their exchange: a reverse J-curve, inverse U-curve, mild stress, minor relief, and resilience pattern. Antecedent explanatory variables for stress variability were examined using both variablecentered and person-centered analyses and evidence for the role of personality, empathy, cultural adaptation, and coping strategies was found in each case. Lastly, we examined the relationship between stress abroad with behavioral indicators of (mal)adjustment: number of family changes and early termination of the exchange program.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2015 14:22
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2021 10:16

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