The purpose of this paper is to study the antecedents of the adjustment of expatriate children to foreign destinations. This process of adjustment is partly explained by the transformation of their identities while abroad.
This research used a mixed method approach. First, to identify the factors that affect expatriate children’s adjustment, 36 interviews were conducted. An ad hoc survey was then developed, distributed and analyzed, in order to determine the factors that really help or inhibit the adjustment of expatriate children.
Expatriate children adapt quite well, and they are mostly interested in fitting in with other children, whether locals or other internationals. Some relevant factors found to relate to adjustment were children’s social skills, their academic self-efficacy, the academic level of the school in the host country and the support received from their families.
Companies could use the results of this study in their cross-cultural training of expatriates traveling with families.
This is the first study to examine a rather comprehensive set of factors that affect the adjustment of expatriate children, using a mixed methods approach.
The 2018 EURAM Research Grant funded this research. The authors thank Margaret Shaffer, Mina Westman and the participants of the 2018 IHRM conference (Madrid) for their comments on previous drafts.
de Sivatte, I., Bullinger, B., Cañamero, M. and Martel Gomez, M.d.P. (2019), "Children of expatriates: key factors affecting their adjustment", Journal of Global Mobility, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 213-236. https://doi.org/10.1108/JGM-11-2018-0058
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