Official Employees of the U.S. Government are being stationed overseas in increasing numbers. As expatriates, they face a wide range of changes, including cultural, personal, work-related, and general lifestyle changes. While Official American expatriates may experience the same difficulties and issues as other expatriates, their unique placement circumstances may affect their adjustment differently. In addition, their failure to adjust is financially expensive and has diplomatic and psychological consequences. Although a number of studies on other expatriate groups have been conducted, research on official American expatriates is scarce. This quantitative study examined general adjustment, work adjustment, and interaction adjustment among American Government employees and their spouses stationed abroad using an online survey based on Black and Stephen's three-pronged theory of adjustment. Utilizing cross-sectional, correlational design, this study explored how personal characteristics, previous overseas assignment experience, current overseas assignment experience, host language fluency, age, choice in assignment, and the financial incentives of post differential and danger pay related to adjustment among official American expatriates. Overseas-stationed non-DOD U.S. Government employees and spouses assigned abroad under Chief of Mission Authority were e-mailed an invitation to the anonymous survey through their Community Liaison Officers. Results from the 553 completed surveys were analyzed using MANOVA, Spearman correlations, and linear regressions. The most significant results indicated that interaction adjustment was significantly different by work status, F (5, 435) = 8.14, p < 001, with working in any capacity resulting in better adjustment. In addition, general (rs = .09, p = .038) and work (rs = .27, p < .001) adjustments were positively related to having a better grasp of the host country language, but interaction adjustment was not. The results of the regression for work (F (1, 551) = 12.19, p = .001) and interaction (F (1, 551) = 4.36, p = .037) adjustments were significant with respect to danger pay in official American expatriates. In contrast, post differential was not shown to be related to any measure of adjustment in this research. This study demonstrates that this population is unique and further research is needed to begin to understand official American expatriate adjustment.
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-B 73/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||International Relations, Occupational psychology|
|Keywords:||Adjustment, American diplomat, Department of State, Expatriate, Spouse, Work status|
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