Spousal adjustment research by Dr Nina Cole

July 31, 2008

Dr Nina Cole is associate professor to the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University in Ontario, Canada. This week she released the results of her research study on expat spouses.

Dr Cole’s abstract is here, below, but you can read the executive summary on her website or mine in the Reading Room.

Spousal adjustment issues, increasingly career-related, are a major reason for expatriate assignment failure. Employer-provided spousal assistance programs have been proposed to address this situation. This field study of 238 expatriate spouses found that those who experience a severe disruption or cessation of employment have significantly lower interactional adjustment to host country nationals than others. For spouses with a career orientation to work, females had higher cultural and interactional adjustment than males. Only 18 percent of the spouses received employer-provided career assistance, and there was no significant difference in adjustment between spouses who received assistance and those who did not. Interviews with 100 spouses indicated that their greatest needs are for networking information to assist in their job search and for a ‘go-to’ person for practical settling-in assistance.

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