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Psychological and Socio-Cultural Adjustment During Cross-Cultural Transitions: A Comparison of Secondary Students Overseas and at Home
Colleen Ward a; Antony Kennedy a a University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

To cite this Article Ward, Colleen and Kennedy, Antony(1993) 'Psychological and Socio-Cultural Adjustment During

Cross-Cultural Transitions: A Comparison of Secondary Students Overseas and at Home', International Journal of Psychology, 28: 2, 129 147 To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/00207599308247181 URL:


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Psychological and Socio-cultural Adjustment during Cross-cultural Transitions: A Comparison of Secondary Students Overseas and at Home
Colleen Ward and Antony Kennedy
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University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

The study further explores the distinction of psychological and socio-cultural adjustment during cross-cultural transitions. One hundred and seventy-eight New Zealand American Field Service (AFS) students residing in 23 different countries completed questionnaires which contained assessments of the following: Personality (extraversion and locus of control); life changes (Social Readjustment Rating Questionnaire); homesickness, cultural distance, acculturation (cultural identity and cultural integration-separation); attitudes toward host country; language ability; amount of contact with host and conationals; relationship satisfaction with co-nationals, host nationals and host family; and outcome measures of socio-cultural (social difficulty) and psychological adjustment (Profile of Mood States). Stepwise repressions revealed that homesickness, external locus of control, life changes, and social difficulty accounted for 55% of the variance in psychological adjustment. In contrast, cultural distance, language ability, satisfaction with host national contact, cultural separation and mood disturbance explained 52% of the variance in socio-cultural adaptation. In the second part of the research, psychological and socio-cultural adjustment of AFS students was compared with a sample of 142 home-based New Zealand secondary school students. Although there were no significant differences in psychological adjustment between the two groups, the students who were resident abroad experienced greater sociocultural difficulties than the students resident in New Zealand ( P < 0.0005), and, as hypothesized, the correlation between psychological and sociocultural adjustment was significantly greater in the home-based students compared to the AFS group ( P < 0.0001). Cette etude explore d'une faGon plus approfondie la distinction entre I'ajustement psychologique et socio-culture1 pendant des transitions inter-culturelles.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Colleen Ward, Department of Psychology. University of Canterbury, Christchurch I , New Zealand. This research was supported by grant No. 8914 from the Social Science Research Fund Committee. currently the Foundation for Research. Science andTechnology. Wellington. New Zealand. The authors would like to thank Stu Allan, the national director of American Field Service in New Zealand, and his staff for their cooperation and assistance with this project. We are also grateful to Pat Hubble and Gary Coburn for data collection in the secondary schools.
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01993 Internationdl Union of Psychological Science



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Cent mixante dix-huit etudiants de Nouvelle-ZClande inscrits dans le programme AFS (American Field Service) et residant dans 23 pays differents ont complete des questionnaires contenant des evaluations des facteurs suivants: la personnalite (extraversion et lieu de contr6le); les changements de vie (questionnaire devaluation du reajustement social); le ma1 du pays, la distance culturelle, lacculturation (lidentite culturelle et la separationintegration culturelle); les attitudes vis-a-vis le pays h6te; Ihabilete de communication; la frequence des contacts avec des h6tes ou des compatriotes; le degre de satisfaction dans les relations avec des compatriotes, des h6tes et leur famille; ainsi que des mesures du resultat de Iadjustement socio-culture1 (difficult6 sociale) et de Iajustement psychologique (profil des etats dhumeur). Des analyses de regression ont rCvClC que le ma1 du pays, le lieu de contr6le externe, les changements de vie et la difficulte sociale expliquaient 55% de la variance dans Iajustement psychologique. Par contre, la distance culturelle, Ihabilete de communication, la satisfaction du contact avec IhBte national, la separation culturelle et la perturbation de Ihumeur expliquaient 52% de la variance de ladaptation socio-culturelle. Dans la seconde partie de cette etude, lajustement psychologique et socio-culture1 des etudiants AFS a ete compare avec celui dun Cchantillon de 142 ttudiants neo-zelandais locaux de niveau secondaire. Bien quil ny avait pas de differences significatives entre les deux groupes pour ce qui est de Iajustement psychologique, les etudiants qui residaient a Ittranger ont connu de plus grandes difficultes socio-culturelles que les etudiants qui resident en Nouvelle-Zelande (P c 0.0005) et, tel que prevu. la correlation entre Iajustement psychologique et socio-culture1 Ctait significativement plus ClevCe chez les etudiants locaux par comparaison avec le groupe AFS (P<O.OOOl).

Although the processes and consequences of culture contact and culture change have attracted considerable attention in recent years, theory and research in this area have remained largely unsynthesized. The empirical literature has been derived from quite separate domains, e.g. research on sojourners, refugees, immigrants, and native peoples, and systematic comparisons between groups in transition have been rare. Theoretical diversity, including varying emphases on clinical, cognitive, and behavioural factors in the transition process, has complicated comparative analyses, and an overarching framework has yet to emerge as a major integrative force in the study of cross-cultural transition. The theoretical and empirical diversity in the field is perhaps best illustrated by the conceptualization and definition of adaptive outcomes of cultural change. In broad terms, research has considered adjustment, adaptation, assimilation, and accommodation. On a more specific level, transition outcome measures have encompassed a range of variables including: attitudes toward host culture (Ibrahim, 1970); mood states (Stone Feinstein & Ward, 1990); health evaluations (Babiker, Cox, & Miller, 1980); feelings of acceptance and satisfaction (Brislin, 1981); nature and



extent of interaction with hosts (Sewell & Davidsen, 1961); the acquisition of culturally appropriate behaviours and skills (Bochner, Lin, & McLeod, 1979); academic competence (Perkins et al., 1977); and job performance (Harris, 1972). With this assortment of outcome indicators it has been problematic for researchers to draw firm conclusions about what precisely facilitates competent coping in a changing cultural milieu. While acknowledging the pragmatic demands for the assessment of specific task performances such as job productivity or academic success, Ward and colleagues have maintained that adjustment or adaptation during cross-cultural transitions can be broadly divided into two categories: psychological and socio-cultural (Searle & Ward, 1990; Stone Feinstein & Ward, 1990; Ward & Kennedy, in press; Ward & Searle, 1991). The former refers to feelings of well-being and satisfaction, whereas the latter is concerned with the ability to fit in or negotiate interactive aspects of the host culture. The theorizing by Ward and associates on psychological and socio-cultural adaptation has borrowed heavily from two divergent traditions in the culture shock field. The first derives from research on psychology of adjustment. It is underpinned by the work of Lazarus and Folkman (1984) on stress and coping, and is exemplified by the research of Berry and colleagues on acculturation and adaptation (e.g. Berry & Kim, 1988; Chataway & Berry, 1989). The second tradition is based on Argyles (1980) social skills model which has been popularized by Furnham and Bochner (1986) in their culture learning approach to cross-cultural transition. Research by Ward and colleagues has demonstrated that psychological adjustment, defined in terms of depression or more global mood disturbance, is affected by personality factors, life changes, and social support. Both locus of control and extraversion have been linked to psychological well-being in sojourners; however, while an internal locus of control has been consistently associated with psychological adaptation (Ward & Kennedy, 1992a; in press), the effects of extraversion on mood disturbance have varied over cultural context (Armes & Ward, 1989; Searle & Ward, 1990), suggesting culture-specific as well as culture-general patterns of adaptation. As expected, a low incidence of life changes facilitates psychological adjustment, and adequate social support is essential for psychological well-being (Searle & Ward, 1990; Ward & Kennedy, 1992a; in press). Stone Feinstein and Ward (1990) reported that loneliness was the most powerful predictor of mood disturbance of U.S. women in Singapore, and similar findings were presented by Ward and Searle (1991) in a multi-national sample of student
For example, extraversion facilitated psychological adjustment in Malaysian and Singaporean students in New Zealand but was associated with greater mood disturbance in EuroAmerican expatriates in Singapore. See Searle and Ward (1990) for a discussion of this and the cultural fit proposition.

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sojourners in New Zealand. These findings parallel theoretical and empirical work on acculturation that have described the impact of extraversion (Gardner, 1962); locus of control (Dyal, Rybensky, & Somers, 1988; Kuo, Gray, & Lin, 1976); life changes (Masuda, Lin. & Tazuma, 1982); and the quantity and quality of social support (Adelman, 1988; Fontaine, 1986) on psychological adjustment during cross-cultural transitions; the results are also in accordance with the literature on stress and coping found in clinical and community psychology (e.g. Cochrane & Sobel, 1980). In contrast, the construction of predictive models of socio-cultural adjustment, assessed in terms of social difficulty, is theoretically embedded in a social learning-social cognition framework. Research has indicated that general cultural knowledge, length of residence in the host culture, and amount of contact with host nationals, affect socio-cultural adaptation (Ward & Kennedy, 1992a, b; in press; Ward & Searle, 1991). On the most basic level, one learns the skills required in a new cultural environment. With emphasis on culture-learning, similarity/dissimilarity between original and host cultures also comes to bear on the adaptation process. Those who perceive greater cultural distance between their origins and destinations are likely to experience more social difficulty during the transition process (Searle & Ward, 1990; Ward & Kennedy, 1992a; in press). Social cognition variables, particularly acculturation strategies, further affect socio-cultural adaptation. A strong cultural identity and cultural segregation impede socio-cultural adaptation in the host society (Ward & Kennedy, 1992a; in press). These findings are congruent with social learning approaches to cross-cultural transition which have documented the effects of cultural distance, general knowledge about host society, cultural assimilation and quaaity of interaction with hosts on socio-cultural adjustment (Furnham & Bochner, 1982; Klineberg & Hull, 1979; Pruitt, 1978; Westwood & Barker, 1990). The theoretical and empirical distinction of psychological and sociocultural adjustment has been a major point of emphasis in our work and represents a basic attempt to provide an overarching conceptual framework for the study of cross-cultural transition and adaptation. The primary thrust of this approach has involved the construction of predictive models of the two adjustment domains based on various samples of sojourning groups (e.g. foreign students, international business people, expatriate wives, diplomats). Examining the overall pattern of results, evidence suggests a core of culture-general predictors of psychological and socio-cultural adjustment as well as the presence of more peripheral factors which appear to be culture- or situation-specific. In assuming this approach. however, the worh may be criticized for the omission of systematic intergroup comparisons. A comparative approach is particularly useful in a field of research which has been characterized by piecemeal investigations. Three basic types of

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intergroup comparisons are available to cross-cultural researchers for the study of transition and adjustment. The first type relies on comparisons among fundamentally different groups of individuals (e .g. refugees, immigrants, sojourners, and native peoples) who have been exposed to culture contact and change. This is exemplified by Berry et al.s (1987) work which demonstrated that psychological and psychosomatic symptoms are relatively higher in native peoples and in refugees, lower in immigrants, and at an intermediate level in sojourners. The second alternative involves one type of group (e.g. sojourners, tourists, or immigrants) with variations in either individuals origins or destinations. The former approach has been more common; for example, Hinkle (1974) reported that Hungarian immigrants to the United States experienced more psychological and physical illnesses than did the Chinese, whereas Cochrane and Stopes-Roe (1980) found that Indian immigrants were better adjusted than Pakistani immigrants in the United Kingdom. The latter approach, however, has also been adopted, as illustrated by Torbiorn (1982) who emphasized sojourners destinations and argued that overseas personnel are generally more content in developed and industrial countries. The third type of comparison is between groups who have and have not been involved in cross-cultural transition. For example, Cole, Allen, and Green (1980), found that ethnic Chinese students consulted university health services less in Australia than at home in Singapore and Hong Kong. Intergroup comparisons of psychological and socio-cultural adjustment allow for the more systematic investigation of cross-cultural transition and are particularly appropriate for the examination of: (1) Variations in the level of psychological and socio-cultural adaptation problems; and (2) variations in the magnitude of the relationship between the two adjustment domains. On the first count the authors have argued that adjustment problems vary among sojourning groups and that greater socio-cultural adaptation problems would be found in groups that make large rather than small cross-cultural transitions. In accordance with the cultural distance hypothesis, Furnham and Bochner (1982) demonstrated that cultural dissimilarity and social difficulty were significantly related; differences in sociocultural adaptation were reported in European. Middle Eastern, and Asian students in the United Kingdom. The same pattern was described by Ward and Kennedy (in press) in their study of Asian students in Singapore and New Zealand. More specifically, greater socio-cultural difficulties were experienced by Chinese students who relocated to New Zealand compared to those who relocated to Singapore. There is also evidence that this pattern holds when comparisons are made between sojourning and sedentary samples. Zheng and Berry (1991) found that Chinese students and visiting scholars from the Peoples Republic of China experienced more problems with family, language and communication, accidents. homesickness and

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loneliness, than either Chinese or non-Chinese Canadian students. Similarly, Chataway and Berry (1989) reported that Hong Kong Chinese evinced more problems with communication difficulties, prejudice and general adaptation in Canada than did a comparative group of Anglo- and FrancoCanadians. Differences in psychological adjustment across acculturating groups might also be expected. Certainly, intergroup differentiation would be predicted by stress and coping theories and has been observed in immigrant studies; however, the empirical evidence for this distinction in sojourner research is somewhat less compelling. Ward and Kennedy (in press) failed to establish differences in global mood disturbance of Asian students in New Zealand and in Singapore. Furnham and Tresize (1981) were unable to demonstrate differences in psychological adaptation of European, African, Middle Eastern, and Asian students in the United Kingdom, although they did note that more psychological adjustment problems emerged in these groups than in a sample of British controls. Whereas Chataway and Berry (1989) reported more psychological and psychosomatic symptoms in Hong Kong Chinese students compared to Anglo- and Franco-Canadian peers, Zheng and Berry (1991) found no significant differences in physical and psychological symptoms between Chinese sojourners in Canada and Chinese and non-Chinese Canadian groups. Similarly, Cole, Allen, and Green (1980) failed to substantiate the proposition that foreign students in Australia utilized university health services more often than local students. The relationship between psychological and socio-cultural dimensions of adaptation can also be examined through intergroup comparisons. On this count it has been argued that while the two adjustment domains are interrelated, the magnitude of the relationship varies, depending on characteristics of the sojourning group and the host culture. More specifically, it has been suggested that the association between psychological and socio-cultural adaptation fluctuates in accordance with the sojourning groups need, capacity, or opportunity for integration into the host culture; that is, the more reliance on the host culture as the primary environment for interaction and support, the stronger the relationship between the two forms of adjustment. Along these lines and as predicted, Ward and Kennedy (in press) demonstrated a significantly more robust correlation between psychological and socio-cultural adaptation in Asian students in Singapore compared to Asian students in New Zealand. Comparisons between the magnitudes of the psychological-socio-cultural correlation coefficients in sojourning and sedentary groups, however, have yet to be undertaken. The studies presented here examine psychological and socio-cultural adjustment in two groups, a cross-cultural sojourning sample of New Zealand American Field Service (AFS) students, and a home-based sample of New Zealand secondary school students. The research has three objectives:

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(1) The construction of predictive models of psychological and sociocultural adjustment; (2) the comparison of psychological and socio-cultural adjustment problems in a sojourning and a sedentary group; a'nd (3) the comparison of the magnitude of the relationship between psychological and socio-cultural adaptation in the two groups. The hypotheses are as follows: l a . Locus of control, homesickness, life changes, relationship satisfaction and social difficulty (socio-cultural adaptation) will predict psychological adjustment. l b . Length of residence in the host culture, cultural distance, acculturation (cultural identity, cultural separation), attitudes toward hosts, language ability, quantity of contact with host nationals, and mood disturbance (psychological adjustment) will predict socio-cultural adaptation. 2a. The sojourning group will experience more socio-cultural adaptation problems than the sedentary group. 2b. There will be no significant difference in psychological adjustment in the two groups. 3. The magnitude of the relationship between psychological and sociocultural adjustment will be greater in the home-based sample than in the sojourning group.

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A total of 178 secondary school students (135 females and 43 males) from New Zealand who were participating in the American Field Service (AFS) programme were involved in this study. Students ranged in age from 16 to 19 years with a mean age of 17.35 years (SD=O.75). The majority of the subjects (94%) described themselves as Pakeha (white New Zealanders), 2% as Maori, and 0.6% as Asian; seven subjects (3.9%) declined to state their ethnicity. The AFS programme promotes cultural exchange, and students reside with a host family during their overseas sojourn. Subjects in this study were placed in 23 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Honduras, Japan, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Paraguay, Thailand, United States, Finland, Indonesia, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, France, Hong Kong, Turkey, Czechoslovakia, Canada, Hungary, and the Dominican Republic. The average length of residence in the host country was 10.88 weeks (SD= 11.83) at the time of questionnaire completion (range = 2-77 weeks). Of the total sample 76% resided in countries where English was not the primary language.




An 11-page questionnaire was employed in this study. In addition to personal and demographic information, the questionnaire included measurements of: personality, homesickness, life changes, cultural distance, acculturation, attitudes toward host nationals, quality and quantity of interpersonal relations, language ability and psychological and sociocultural adjustment.
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Personality. Extraversion and locus of control were examined in this study. The 21-item subscale of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (Eysenck & Eysenck, 1975), was employed to assess extraversion; scores range from 0 to 21 with higher scores representing greater levels of extraversion. Locus of control was measured by 15 items excerpted from Collins (1974) modification of Rotters (1966) Internal-External Locus of Control scale. A Likert-format was implemented with subjects expressing their agreement/disagreement with each statement on a 5-point scale. Scores range from 0 to 60 with higher scores reflecting a more external locus of control. This modification of the Rotter scale proved reliable and valid in earlier research with New Zealand adults (Ward & Kennedy, 1992a). Homesickness. This measurement was based on nine items extracted from the Dundee Relocation Inventory (Fisher, 1989). Subjects rely on 4-point scales (end points: completely false/completely true) to respond to statements pertaining to homesickness (e.g. I cannot stop thinking about home). Fisher originally defined homesickness as a cognitive-motivationalemotional state. In this context, however, only items pertaining to cognitive and motivational domains were retained in the scale. Statements such as: I feel happy, unloved, lonely, secure, etc., were omitted because psychological adjustment, defined in terms of mood disturbance, is considered as an outcome measure. Scores ranged from 0 to 36 with higher scores representing more homesickness. Life Changes. A modified version of the Social Readjustment Rating Questionnaire (SRRQ), devised by Holmes and Rahe (1967), as a means of quantifying the amount of readjustive stress experienced due to life changes, was utilized in this study. The questionnaire contains 29 life events, each assigned a value (in life change units), according to how much readjustment it requires. Subjects are asked to indicate which of the 29 events have occurred for them in the past six months, and the life change units for each selected event are summed; higher scores, therefore, are indicative of more



life changes and greater adjustive demands. The mean life change unit scores for each of the 29 events were based on judgements by a separate sample of 164 secondary school students in New Zealand (see Kennedy & Ward, 1990).
Cultural Distance. The format of the open-ended Cultural Distance Index (CDI) developed by Babiker, Cox, and Miller (1980), was modified for the purpose of this study. Subjects were asked to rate on a scale of 0-4 how their own New Zealand backgrounds differ from their experiences in their host countries in ten areas. Scores range from 0 to 40 with higher scores indicating greater cultural distance. Similar modifications have been used successfully in previous research by Ward and Kennedy (1992a) with New Zealand sojourners in Singapore. Acculturation. Acculturation was assessed by two related measurements. The first index referred to cultural identity (Tajfel, 198l), and pertained to the salience and importance of ones cultural group in relation to personal identity. The assessment includes 12 items which concern issues such as similarity of own beliefs and values to those of other members of ones cultural group, similarity and differences between cultural groups, and perceptions of others in terms of group membership. Scores range from CL72 with higher scores representing stronger identity with ones culture of origin. This scale was used in previous research with foreign students in New Zealand and New Zealand expatriates in Singapore and proved reliable and valid (Ward & Kennedy, 1992a; Ward & Searle, 1991). The second index (CIS) considers cultural integration-separation, more specifically: the relationship between original and host culture. The construction of the CIS was based on previous work by Kim (1988) and pertains to the separation-integration dimension of acculturation as discussed by Berryet al. (1989). The questionnaire surveys 11 areas (e.g. music, clothing, values, friendships), and subjects are asked to indicate the extent of their preference for New Zealand vs. host culture mores, norms, customs, and traditions. CIS scores range from 0-44 with higher scores indicating greater separation from the host culture. A similar version of this instrument was also used successfully in Ward and Kennedys (1992a; in press) research with Asian students and with New Zealand adults. Attitudes Toward Host Nationals. The 20-item scale was designed to assess subjects perceptions of their host countries. The measurement contained a mixture of positively and negatively worded descriptions (e.g. Many locals are prejudiced, This is a beautiful country), to which

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subjects indicate their agreemenvdisagreement on 5-point scales. Scores range from 0-80 with higher scores indicating more favourable attitudes toward the host country. Similar attitude scales have proven reliable and valid in past sojourner research (Ward & Kennedy, in press). Interpersonal Relations. Both the quality and quantity of interpersonal relations were considered. Subjects utilized 4-point scales to rate the frequency of contact with host and co-nationals in seven areas (e.g. studying, recreation). Scores range from 0-21 with higher scores indicative of more extensive social contact. Relationship satisfaction (low-high) was also rated on a 4-point scale for co-national and host national relations as well as relations with host family. Language Ability. As language ability could not be assessed through objective testing in this study, students evaluated their own foreign language competence on a 4-point scale (end points: poor/excellent). Socio-culruralAdjustment. This 20-item scale focuses on the skills that are required to cope with everyday social situations encountered in a new culture. The development of the scale was based on work by Furnham and Bochner (1982) with the Social Situations Questionnaire and two studies which considered problems faced by foreign students in New Zealand (Ng, 1962; Noor, 1968). The questionnaire is constructed so that subjects utilize 5-point scales to rate the amount of difficulty that they experience in 20 social situations. Unlike the Furnham and Bochner (1982) measurement, however, difficulty in this assessment was not framed in affective terms such as anxiety, fear or embarrassment. Scores on the socio-cultural adjustment scale range from 0-80 with higher scores indicative of greater social difficulty. The instrument has been utilized in previous research with students undergoing cross-cultural transitions and has proven reliable and valid (Searle & Ward, 1990; Ward & Searle, 1991). Psychological Adjustment. I ne Profile of Mood States (POMS) served as a measurement of psychological adjustment (McNair, Lorr, & Droppleman, 1971). The POMS includes 65 adjectives which relate to symptoms of: tension, depression, anger, fatigue, confusion and vigour (qualities commonly ascribed to sojourners who experience culture shock). Subjects rate the intensity of these emotions, as experienced within the last week, on a 5-point scale; scores range from 0-260 with higher scores reflecting greater mood disturbance. The POMS has been used in much of the sojourner research by Ward and colleagues.

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Questionnaires were posted overseas to students during their AFS placements, and subjects were requested to return completed questionnaires to the researchers in enclosed, addressed envelopes. Participation was anonymous and voluntary although requests for participation carried a letter of support from AFS. Of the 357 questionnaires distributed, 181 (51%) were returned. Two were rejected because they were incomplete, and one arrived after the completion of data analysis; therefore, 178 respondents were ipcluded in the study.
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Preliminary data analysis consisted of testing the internal reliability of each of the scales using Cronbachs alpha. Scales proved moderately reliable: Extraversion (0.72); locus of control (0.78); homesickness (0.82); cultural distance (0.80); cultural identity (0.72); cultural integration-separation (0.76); attitudes toward hosts (0.83); contact frequency with host nationals (0.75); and fellow nationals (0.91); socio-cultural adjustment (social difficulty: 0.85); and psychological adjustment (mood disturbance: 0.96). Scalar validity was examined through inter-correlations among the predictor variables. Results corroborated the validity of measurements of cultural distance, cultural identity, cultural integration-separation,homesickness, and social interaction scales. Strong cultural identity was significantly related to separation from the host culture (0.21, P < 0.003) and homesickness (0.20, P c 0.004). Host culture integration, by contrast, was associated with satisfying relations with host nationals (- 0.20, P < 0.004), and host family (-0.28, P < 0.001). Homesickness was inversely correlated with quantity of interaction with host nationals (- 0.24, P < O.OOl), but positively related to amount of interaction with co-nationals (0.17, P < 0.01). In line with Fishers (1989) postulation homesickness was also associated with an external locus of control (0.25, P < 0.001). Language fluency related to frequent contact with host nationals (0.19, P < 0.01) and infrequent contact with co-nationals (- 0.21, P < 0.008). Significant correlations between contact frequency and relationship satisfaction held for both co-national (0.22, P < 0.002), and host national (0.26, P < 0.001) relations. Zero order correlations were also employed for preliminary hypotheses testing before the construction of predictive models via regression analysis. In line with hypothesis (la), locus of control (0.45, P<O.OOl), homesickness (0.61, P < O.OOl), life changes (0.28, P < O.OOl), satisfaction with host national relations (- 0.32, P < O.OOl), satisfaction with host family (- 0.33, P < 0.001), and social difficulty (0.61, P < 0.001), were significantly related to psychological adjustment problems. Satisfaction with co-national


WARD AND KENNEDY TABLE 1 Predictors of Mood Disturbance

Predictors Social difficulty Homesickness Locus of control Life changes (SRRQ)

0.32 0.38 0.22 0.14

0.0001 0.0001


relations, however, (0.04) was unrelated to psychological adjustment. In support of hypothesis (lb), language ability (0.31, P < O.OOl), cultural distance (0.45, P < 0.001), attitudes toward hosts (- 0.35, P < O.OOl), cultural separation (0.32, P < 0.001), quantity of host national interaction (- 0.27, P < 0.001), and mood disturbance (0.61, P < O.OOl), were significantly related to socio-cultural problems. Length of residence (- 0.02) and cultural identity (- 0.02), however, were unrelated to socio-cultural adjustment. Finally, stepwise regression equations were used for the construction of predictive models of psychological and socio-cultural adjustment; these included: sex, locus of control, extraversion, life changes, attitudes toward host country, cultural identity, cultural integration-separation, cultural distance, language ability, quality and quantity of host and co-national contact, satisfaction with host family relations, length of residence in host country, and homesickness.* Psychological adjustment was predicted by locus of control, life changes, homesickness, and socio-cultural adjustment F (4, 173) = 53.2, P < 0.0001. More specifically mood disturbance was associated with external locus of control, greater incidence of life changes, homesickness, and social difficulty. These variables accounted for 55% o f the variance in psychological adjustment (Table 1). Significant predictors of socio-cultural adjustment included cultural distance, language ability, satisfaction with host national contact, cultural integration-separation, and psychological adjustment; F (5, 172) = 37. I , P < 0.0001. Social difficulty was linked to greater perceived cultural distance, poor language ability, unsatisfying relations with host nationals, cultural separation and mood disturbance. A total of 52% of the variance in socio-cultural adjustment was accounted for by these variables (Table 2).
As language ability was relevant only to subjects in countries where English was not the native language, mean substitutions were used for missing values in the regression equations 10 retain data from all subjects. The alternative adjustment indicator (psychological or sociocultural) was also included in the regression. The procedure of including all (as opposed to only hypothesized) variables as predictors in the regression analysis was undertaken as a more stringent test of the discriminant validity of psychological and socio-cultural adjustment; it also follows the approach taken by Ward and colleagues in related research and renders the results comparable with other studies.

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Predicrors Mood disturbance Cultural distance Language ability Satisfaction with host national relations Cultural separation
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0.000 I

0.39 0.33 -0.17 -0.15 0.13

U.(N)OI 0.002 0.008 0.02


The sample was composed of 132 state and private secondary school students in Christchurch, New Zealand. The sample described themselves as: Pakeha (90%); Maori (3.5%); Pacific Islanders (2.5%); and Asian (1.4%); 2.1% declined to state their ethnicity. Subjects' ages ranged from 16 to 19 ( M = 17.45, SD = 0.53). The sample included 49 females and 92 males; one subject failed to specify sex.
Materials and Procedure

Questionnaires were distributed to students during class periods, and subjects were requested to complete the Profile of Mood States (POMS) and the Social Difficulty scale. These scales were described in Study 1 in this paper and functioned as measures of psychological and socio-cultural adjustment. The POMS measurement was identical in both studies; the Social Difficulty assessment, however, contained only 16 of the original 20 items (four items were not relevant to subjects in the secondary school sample). Participation i n the research was anonymous and voluntary.

Results Responses on the POMS and Social Difficulty scale were compared between these 142 subjects and the 175 AFS students. The Cronbach alpha for POMS was 0.96 for the secondary school sample, whereas the alpha for the 16-item Social Difficulty scale was 0.83 for the secondary school sample and 0.85 for the AFS sample. Using sex as a covariate, a main effect emerged on the Social Difficulty scale ( F (1, 317)= 11.6. P<0.001). More specifically, the AFS students who resided abroad experienced more social difficulty than students who remained at home. In a parallel analysis no significant differences were found between the groups on the POMS ( F ( 1. 317) = 1.5, n.s.), the measurement of psychological adjustment; therefore. hypotheses (?a) and (2b) were confirmed. (See Table 3.)


WARD A N D KENNEDY TABLE 3 M e a n Scores for Psychological and Socio-cultural Adjustment





Mood Disturbance Social Difficulty

77.3 (33.2) 16.3 (8.2)

82..3 (38. I ) 13. I (8.2)

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The zero order correlations between the measures of socio-cultural and psychological adjustment for the AFS and secondary school samples were also compared. i n support of hypothesis (3), the test for significant differences between independent correlations revealed that the magnitude of the relationship between psychological and socio-cultural adjustment was significantly greater in the secondary school sample (0.66) compared to the AFS sample (0.23); z = 4.92, P < 0.0001.

The research examined the outcomes of cross-cultural transition in a group of overseas students via the construction of predictive models of psychological and socio-cultural adjustment and the comparative analysis of the adjustment indicators in relation to a sample of sedentary peers. Results revealed that psychological well-being, as assessed by a measurement of mood disturbance, was predicted by life changes, locus of control, homesickness and socio-cultural adaptation. In contrast, socio-cultural adjustment, ;is measured by a social difficulty index, was dependent on cultural distance, quality of sojourner-host relations, language ability, cultural separation, and psychological adaptation. As hypothesized, AFS students experienced greater socio-cultural adjustment difficulties than did the comparable homebased sample. Finally, psychological and socio-cultural adjustment were significantly related in both the AFS and secondary school samples; however, as expected, the magnitude of the relationship was greater in the sedentary group. The findings on predictive models of psychological and socio-cultural adjustment are in broad agreement with past research by Ward and colleagues and again corroborate the discriminant validity of the two adjustment domains. The results also support the proposition that psychological adjustment during cross-cultural transitions can best be analyzed within the context of stress and coping theories, whereas socio-cultural adaptation is more appropriately considered within a social learning-social cognition framework. The predictive models support the usefulness of the distinction of psychological and socio-cultural outcomes of cross-cultural transitions;



however, given a series of studies which has led to the same conclusion, it is the intergroup comparisons which add a new perspective to our research and deserve further comment. As expected, AFS students abroad reported significantly more difficulty in the management of everyday social situations than did the secondary school pupils in New Zealand; however, there were no significant differences in psychological adjustment between the two groups. The former finding is in accordance with previous intergroup assessments of social difficulty during cross-cultural transitions (Furnham & Bochner, 1982; Ward & Kennedy, in press). The latter result, although predicted, is set against a background of more controversial empirical research. There is both evidence for (Chataway & Berry, 1989; Furnham & Tresize, 198l), and against (Cole, Allen, & Green, 1980; Zheng & Berry, 1991), the proposition that sojourning groups experience more psychological and physical distress than do their native-born counterparts. Stress and coping approaches to acculturation suggest that psychological adjustment should be more problematic in sojourning, compared to sedentary, groups. All things being equal, it would be expected that the homebased sample would have advantages of fewer life changes, greater sociocultural expertise, and, possibly, more effective social support systems. However, as adjustive outcomes emerge in a person-situation interaction, it is likely that the specific types of samples used in this study had some bearing on the research findings. Perhaps students who are selected for the AFS programme differ in some way from those who choose to remain at home. It might be plausibly argued, for example, that the sojourning group, in actively pursuing new experiences and challenges, possess superior psychological resources for coping with the stress. In addition, AFS students are selected and trained for their overseas postings. These factors may diminish the home-base advantages and, in turn, narrow the potential gap in psychological adjustment. In addition to comparisons of the level of psychological and socio-cultural adaptation, the magnitude of the relationship between the two adjustment domains in sojourning and sedentary samples was also examined. In the most basic terms, it has been argued that as the sojourners world becomes increasingly defined by the host culture milieu, the extent of the relationship between psychological and socio-cultural adjustment increases. For example, in the case of sojourners who reside primarily in an expatriate bubble, there should be little relationship between psychological and socio-cultural adaptation. In contrast, a strong relationship between the two adjustment domains would be expected in groups who are well integrated into the host culture. Along these lines Ward and Kennedy (in press) reported a significantly greater relationship between psychological and socio-cultural adaptation in Malaysian students in Singapore (0.49) compared

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to Singaporean and Malaysian students in New Zealand (0.28). Extending this rationale, the relationship between psychological and socio-cultural adaptation in a non-relocating sample should generally be greater than in a sojourning group. This was borne out in the findings presented here (0.66; 0.23, respectively). Of course, there are many factors which may affect the willingness and opportunity for integration into the host culture, including the availability of co-national support, cultural congruence between host and guests, and the receptiveness of the host culture, and these should be systematically investigated in future research. Despite the theoretical justifications and the robust findings reported here, our work may be subjected to certain criticisms. As with all postal surveys, return rates call into question the external validity of the results. Whereas over half of the subjects (51%) responded to the questionnaireand this exceeds the expected 30% return rate for postal surveys (Shaughnessy & Zechmeister, 1985)-the return rate may warrant caution in the generalization of the findings. A more notable criticism, which has been previously acknowledged by Searle and Ward (1990), involves the use of multiple regression and the causal ordering of dependent and independent variables. Although the selection of psychological and social adjustment indicators as outcome measures is typical of research in the area, the process and impact of cross-cultural transitions may be conceptualized in a number of ways. Depending on a researchers theoretical persuasions and empirical interests, alternative approaches might include the prediction of sojournerhost relations based on social skills, or the prediction of acculturative strategies based on length of residence in the host culture. Following on from this, comments are warranted about the nature of the variables under examination. Whereas factors such as cultural distance, personality, and life changes are clearly antecedent to recent mood states or current social difficulty, relationships between variables such as the quantity and quality of host contact and adjustment indicators are more difficult to isolate in 11 temporal sequence. The antecedent-consequent patterning of the relationships amongst such variables requires clarification in future research. Finally, the nature of the sample may limit the generalizability of the research findings. AFS students represent a particular type of sojourning group; they reside in a relatively sheltered environment and expect to live in their new culture for a relatively brief period of time. This should be taken into account in the extension of the research findings. In conclusion, this study and the associated programme of sojourner research arose in response to a critical call for more systematic development of theoretical perspectives and empirical research on culture shock. The authors have offered a framework for the study of cross-cultural transition and adjustment which has incorporated the two popular, but divergent,

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theoretical approaches to acculturation and which is clear and consistent in the definition and operationalization of adjustive outcomes. Psychological and socio-cultural adjustment have been examined in different types of sojourning groups (diplomats, international business people, students), O J various cultural origins and in a variety of cultural settings, both in longitudinal and cross-sectional studies. At present we believe that this framework makes a modest contribution to research on acculturation and offers the potential for the synthesis of the culture shock literature. We also recommend that the approach be extended to other groups in transition, such as immigrants and refugees, in future research.
Manuscript received June 1991 Revised manuscript accepted March 1992

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