PurposeDrawing upon Folkman and Lazarus’ (1984) coping framework and interdependence theory (Thibaut and Kelley, 1959), the purpose of this paper is to investigate how expatriate spouses’ coping strategies (problem-focused and emotion-focused) affect expatriate spouse adjustment and expatriate adjustment. In addition, the authors also examine the mediating effect of expatriate adjustment on the spouse coping strategies-spouse adjustment relationship.Design/methodology/approachTo test these relationships, the authors collected multi-source data from 191 expatriate spouses and their expatriate partners living in 37 countries.FindingsThe results revealed that problem- and emotion-focused coping strategies positively and negatively, respectively, influenced all types of spouse adjustment: personal, interaction, and cultural. Both forms of spouse coping also influenced expatriate adjustment. The authors also found that expatriate adjustment mediated the relationship between expatriate spouses’ coping strategies and spouse adjustment.Practical implicationsThe results suggest that multinational organizations should pay equal attention to the adjustment of both their expatriates and their spouses. Both expatriates and their spouses should be included in the initial selection process and in pre-departure training to get well equipped before the international assignment. Training spouses to adopt problem-focused coping strategies would help to facilitate the effective adjustment of both spouses and expatriates.Originality/valueThe research provides one of the first examinations that investigate expatriate spouses’ coping strategies and their impact on expatriate and expatriate spouse adjustment. This research also highlights the interdependency of expatriates and their spouses.
Journal of Global Mobility: The Home of Expatriate Management Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 12, 2018
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