PARENTAL ATTACHMENT, REVERSE CULTURE SHOCK, PERCEIVED SOCIAL SUPPORT, AND COLLEGE ADJUSTMENT OF MISSIONARY CHILDREN.
Missionary kids (MKs) belong to a population of children who were raised in a foreign culture different from their parents' home culture, and are, therefore, the products of two culture streams. Because of this, they are often referred to as 'third culture kids' (TCKS; Taylor, 1976). These children are "neither North American nor foreign, but an amalgamation that is different from the sum of its parts" (White, 1983, p. 186). They have n sense of belonging to two separate cultures, without claiming full ownership of either (Sharp, 1985). Moreover, the lives of missionary children are often vulnerable to an inordinate amount of "intense and complex change/separation/loss. They regularly separate from friends, families, homelands, cultural values, eating habits, and recreational habits" (White & Nesbit, 1985, p.498).
The current study will concentrate on the extraordinary bicultural experience of missionary children, focusing on the following constructs: reverse culture shock, parental attachment, perceived social support and college adjustment. The differences between MKs and Non-MKs on these constructs, as well as significant differences among the MKs on these measures will be examined. Finally, the relationship among the constructs will be evaluated.
REVERSE CULTURE SHOCK
Reverse culture shock results from the psychological and psychosomatic consequences of the readjustment process to the primary culture. Gullahon and Gullahon (1963) described the intercultural processes as originating with cross-cultural acculturation and terminating with reacculturation. The readjustment to the primary culture is postulated to be more difficult than the culture shock experienced when going abroad. Furthermore, it is considered the most stressful aspect of sojourning (Sussman, 1986).
Specific variables have been associated with reverse culture shock. Martin (1984) defined three dimensions that contribute to reverse culture shock: background variables, sojourn variables, and re-entry variables. In this study, only the sojourn and re-entry variables were examined, and hence, will be discussed below.
Location. Missionary families who returned from cultures closely similar to the American culture experienced less reverse culture shock than those who returned from cultures whose technologies and values were extremely distinct than the American culture (Stringham, 1993). Fray (1988), however, did not find the location of overseas residence to be a significant predictor of reverse culture shock.
Identification with Host Country. Stelling (1991) found that a sense of feeling "at home" in a country other than the United States was significantly related to increased reverse culture shock In addition, Sussman (1986) reported that individuals who adapted more successfully overseas experienced more severe reentry problems than those who did not adapt well. Satisfaction with overseas experience and a lack of readiness to reenter the home culture were further associated with problematic reentry (Martin, 1984; Sussman, 1986).
Mobility and Transitional Adjustments. The mobility of MKs has been reported to have a significant effect on their adjustment (Gleason, 1970), reverse culture shock (Stelling, 1991), and identity status (Salmon, 1987). Mobile overseas teenagers also reported a greater insecurity about their future than U.S. high school students (Werkman, Farley, Butler, & Quavhager, 1981).
Mobility and cross-cultural stress are associated with unresolved grief and loss in the MK, as well as deficiencies in intimate capacity (Powell, 1987; Salmon, 1987). Werkman et al. (1981) reported that mobile overseas teenagers rely less on the support of interpersonal relationships, and have a decreased ability to engage in intimate relationships than U.S. students.
Familial Dynamics. Broadus (1981) discovered that missionary families were significantly higher than non-missionaries in their cohesion scales and significantly lower in their adaptability scores. The cohesion scores measured the degree of bonding in the family, whereas the adaptability scores measured the degree of flexibility in the family.
Fray (1988) found that the MK's family-of-origin had an impact on their coping resources for reverse culture shock. A balanced score on the family cohesion and adaptability scales of FACES III predicted decreased reverse culture shock. He also found family satisfaction to be a significant predictor, indicating that the greater the satisfaction with the adaptability and cohesion in the family-of-origin, the less reverse culture shock is experienced.
Expectation of Reverse Culture Shock. Research indicates that realistic expectations of the returning missionary prior to re-entry are a positive significant indicator of decreased reverse culture shock and greater adaptation (Adler, 1981; Moore, Jones, & Austin, 1987).
Length of Time since Re-entry. Research indicates that reacculturation is a demanding task that takes a number of years to accomplish. Stelling (1991) reported that MKs who had been in the United States more than five years suffered less reverse culture shock than those whom had recently re-entered the American culture. Fray (1988) also found that the degree of grief in the MK was negatively related to the age of MK and current year in college. Efforts to persuade other Americans to adopt multi-cultural values and attitudes also appears to decrease with time (Stringham, 1993), despite the acquired awareness of cultural differences and appreciation of the host culture (Wilson, 1986).
Age of Return. Significant differences were found between the profiles of MKs who returned as teenagers, and those who returned as children. The younger the child is upon reentry, the more likely he or she will rapidly reacculturate to the American culture (Stebenaler, 1988; Stringham, 1993). After examining the reverse culture shock of teenagers, Stelling (1991) concluded that early adolescent 13 to 14 year old missionary children were at the greatest risk for experiencing severe re-entry stress. This study will extend these findings, and examine the differences between those who re-entered before the age of 15 from those who entered after the age of 15, expanding the margin of early adolescence under examination.
Social Support during Re-entry. The relative abundance or lack of social support upon re-entry is a critical variable in the reacculturation process (Schulz, 1986). Stringham (1993, p. 7) hypothesized that "the returnees' perceptions of connectedness with sources of social support are associated with adaptive or maladaptive coping styles." Early research consistently reported that social support and adaptation is a major challenge for MKs during reacculturation (Bretsch, 1954; Shephard, 1977). Downie (1976) reported that MKs exhibited social marginality in their interpersonal relationships. Although MKs expressed a longing for friendships, they were hesitant to engage in short-lived relationships. MKs showed a greater tendency to feeling inadequate with their current social abilities than Non-MKs (Danielson, 1981). Similarly, Ellers (1980) found that MK college freshmen experienced greater social adjustment problems than Non-MK college students.
Current research substantiates these early findings, and provides further evidence for the interpersonal difficulties MKs experience during reacculturation (Siebenaler, 1988). It often difficult for MKs to find people who demonstrate interest in their international experience and validate their acquired cross-cultural knowledge (Koester, 1984).
In the current study, significant differences among the MKs on their negotiation of reverse culture shock will be examined. Parental attachment and perceived social support will then be examined to determine how they predict the severity of reverse culture shock. Finally, the effect reverse culture shock has on the MK's college adjustment will be evaluated.
According to attachment theory, infants are born with the innate propensity to seek and form enduring emotional bonds with others (Bowlby, 1988). This biological function is manifested through the infant's fundamental need to be physically close to the attachment figure. The proximity protects the survival of the infant by activating a direct response from the caregiver. The attachment figure operates as a "secure base" from which the infant can return for reassurance and "felt security." As long as the attachment figure is responsive and available, the infant's exploratory behavior increases. If danger is perceived, exploration decreases and attachment behavior is activated (Mayseless, 1996).
Internal Working Models
Attachment theory assumes that the infant's emotional experiences with the primary figure are represented cognitively in the form of "internal working models of self and other." These internal models represent a set of beliefs regarding their self-worth, and the dependability of others. Although these models are not resistant to change (Main, Kaplan & Cassidy, 1985), they are thought to become stable and trait-like (Bretherton, 1985). One's internal models are then generalized to later relationships (Main, Kaplan, & Cassidy, 1985).
According to the attachment model, during the transition to college, the primary caregiver's functions are to both provide a secure base of support to the adolescent, as well as encourage their adolescent's exploration. The availability of parental support is extremely important in the adolescent's ability to develop his or her identity, adjust to the stress of college, and cultivate relationships (Kenny & Rice, 1995). The attachment model recognizes the importance of connection and autonomy in the adolescent's development. For the securely attached adolescent, going to college is conceptualized as an opportunity for discovery. During times of stress, the secure adolescent would rely on the parents for support, without compromising his or her independence (Kenny, 1987).
Various studies have indicated positive relationships between the social and emotional well-being of college students and secure parental attachment (Mallinckrodt, 1992; Rice, 1990). According to a meta-analysis by Rice (1990), a positive relationship was reported between parental attachment and identity formation, social functioning and interpersonal functioning. According to their peers, secure adolescents were judged as less anxious and hostile than insecure adolescents (Kobak & Sceery, 1988).
In view of the above research on the predictive value of adolescent attachment, this current study will investigate both the parental attachment of MKs and the parental attachment of non-MKs. Because previous research has indicated that missionary families score significantly higher on their cohesion scales (Broadus, 1981) and yet score significantly lower on their adaptability scales (Broadus, 1981), this study is unable to postulate how MKs and Non-MKs will differ on their parental attachment -- a construct that encompasses both cohesion and adaptability. Specifically, adolescent attachment will be empirically studied to determine its influence upon the resolution of reverse culture shock, perceived social support and the ability to adjust to college.
PERCEIVED SOCIAL SUPPORT
Perceived social support is "the perception that social support would be available should an individual wish to access it" (Sarason, Pierce, Shearin, Sarason, Waltz & Poppe, 1991). Perceived social support has received much theoretical and empirical attention, because it appears to be more beneficial to individuals than received social support (Wethington & Kessler, 1986). Various studies have shown that the perception of social support is far more related to predicted outcomes than the actual support received (Hobfoll, Nadler & Lelberinan, 1986; Sandier & Barrera, 1984; Wethington & Kessler, 1986).
Researchers have suggested that what is assessed by measures of perceived social support is not a direct reflection of the available help to the subject, but rather a personality characteristic of the subject (Henderson, 1981). Sarason, Sarason, and Pierce (1990) suggested that social support may operate as an individual difference variable, and is formed from childhood to become a stable aspect of adulthood. By relating social support to personality characteristics, and retrospective reports of early parent-child relationships, Sarason, Sarason, and Pierce (1986) found social support to be moderately stable for three years.
Attachment and Perceived Social Support. Priel & Shamai (1995) found a significant association between attachment style and perceived social support. Securely attached individuals perceived more social support from their environment and were more satisfied with it than insecurely attached individuals.
In view of the predictive quality of one's perceived social support, the perception of social support will be examined to determine how it predicts the severity of reverse culture shock and college adjustment in both the MK and Non-MK. Comparison analyses of these two groups will also be performed.
During the college years, adolescents face the task of individuation from parents and adaptation to the adult world. This developmental and transitional passage concerns itself with familial factors, including quality of parental attachment and optimal family structure for college development (Lopez, Campbell, & Watkins, 1988).
Parental Attachment and College Adjustment
Although both connection and autonomy are important for sychological growth, connection is viewed as critical to offer late adolescents a "secure base" of support (Kenny & Donaldson, 1992). Recent research has indicated a positive relationship between parental attachment and measures of wellbeing and adjustment to college in late adolescents (Armsden & Greenberg, 1987; Kenny, 1987; Kenny & Donaldson, 1992; Kobak & Sceery, 1988). In addition, accumulating research evidence supports that both parental attachment and separation-individuation are important for adaptive functioning and college adjustment (Bluestein, Walbridge, Friedlander, & Palladino, 1991; Holmbeck & Wandrei, 1993; Kenny & Donaldson, 1992; Lopez, 1991; Rice, FitzGerald, Whaley, & Gibbs, 1995).
Social Support and College Adjustment
Limited research has shown that the quality of relationships in college is a strong predictor of well being in college. Riggio, Watring and Throckmorton (1993) discovered that social skills, combined with perceived social support, predicted certain aspects of college adjustment. Zea, Jarama, Bianchi and Fernanda (1995) reported that perceived social support and psychosocial competence are significant predictors for college adjustment.
Reverse Culture Shock and College Adjustment
The relationship between reverse culture shock and college adjustment has not been explicitly examined with missionary kids. Previous research has reported that MKs excel academically (Andrews, 1995) and struggle in their social adjustment to college (Pollack, 1987).
HYPOTHESES FOR THE CURRENT STUDY
Based on this rationale, the following specific hypotheses were proposed.
1. There should not be a significant difference between MKs and Non-MKs on the measure of parental attachment.
2. MKs will score lower than Non-MKs on the measure of perceived social support.
3. MKs will score higher on measures of 'culture shock' than Non-MKs.
4. MKs will score lower than Non-MKs on the measures of college adjustment (excluding the academic adjustment scale).
5. Secure parental attachment will be related to higher perceived social support for both the MKs and Non-MKs.
6. Secure parental attachment will be related to decreased reverse culture shock for the MKs.
7. Secure parental attachment will be related to greater college adjustment for both MKs and Non-MKs.
8. High perceived social support will be related to decrease reverse culture shock for the MKs.
9. High perceived social support will be related to greater college adjustment for both MKs and Non-MKs.
10. Lower reverse culture shock will be related to greater college adjustment; however, a significant difference is not anticipated on the academic adjustment scale.
11. No hypotheses were proposed on within-group comparisons of the MK participants on all four personality measures because of the exploratory nature of this study and previous insufficient research.
Participants were 110 undergraduate students (71 female, 49 male) enrolled at Westmont College (n=66) and Biola University (n = 44), including 49 (completed data on 45) MKs and 65 Non-MKs. Complete data were obtained on 105 subjects. A directory of all of the MK students in attendance at Biola University and Westmont College was obtained through Mu Kappa, a fraternity for MK college students, and each student's participation was individually requested through a phone call. Non-MK students were recruited from Introduction to Psychology courses at both universities. The age of the participants ranged from 17 years to 25 years (m = 19.5, SD 1.3). Demographic data for all subjects participating in the current study are presented in Table 1 Specific demographic data for MK subjects are presented in Table 2.
Parental Attachment Questionnaire (PAQ)
Kenny (1987) designed the Parental Attachment Questionnaire (PAQ) to reflect Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, and Wall's (1978) theory of attachment and for use with adolescents and young adults. The PAQ describes the relationships to parents along three dimensions: Parents as a Source of Support, Parents as Facilitators of Independence, and Affective Quality of the Parent-Child Relationship. Respondents are asked to answer the 55 items on a 5-point Likert scale.
Kenny (1987) reported PAQ full-scale internal consistency (Cronbach alpha) coefficients of .93 and .95 for samples of first year college men and women. The test-retest reliability over a 2-week interval was .92 for the measure as a whole, and from .82 to .91 for the three individual scales derived from factor analysis.
Social Support Questionnaire
Sarason, Levine, Basham, and Sarason (1983) designed the SSQ to measure the functions that Weiss (1974) and Caplan (1974) proposed social networks serve. The SSQ yields two scores: a Perceived Availability Score (SSQN) and a Satisfaction Score (SSQS). The satisfaction scale uses a 6-point Likert scale (ranging from 'very dissatisfied' to 'very satisfied').
Separate factor analyses of the two scales showed that each scale was comprised of a different unitary dimension, and there was a moderate correlation between them (r =.34). SSQN scores were positively related to extroversion, and the SSQS scores were inversely related to neuroticism (Sarason, Shearin, Pierce & Sarason, 1987).
Homecomer Culture Shock Scale (HCSS)
Fray (1988) developed the 23-item Homecomer Culture Shock scale (HCSS) by identifying behavioral descriptors commonly reported in the literature on "reverse culture shock" and reacculturation literature. Using factor analysis, a three-factor model was produced: Grief (GR), Interpersonal Distance (ID) and Cultural Distance (CD). A fourth scale termed Culture Shock (CS) represents an overall composite. Subjects responded on a 5-point Likert scale (from Not True of Me to Very True of Me).
The test-retest reliability coefficients of the HCSS over 20 days were moderately high (CS = .80, CD = .79, ID = .60, GR = .82). Fray (1988) reported high internal consistency represented in the Cronbach Alpha coefficients (CS . 92; CD = .86; ID = .84; GR = .84). Predicted relationships between scores on the HCSS and measures of depression (Beck Depression Inventory), anxiety (Trait Anxiety Scale) and alienation (Dean Alienation scale) support the construct validity of the HCSS.
Homecomer Culture Shock Scale Modified
The HCSS was modified by eliminating all questions corresponding to the Grief (GR) scale. The remaining questions corresponding to the Interpersonal Distance (ID) scale and Cultural Distance (CD) scale made up the modified version. This permitted Non-MKs to complete a partial version of the HCSS to be utilized in comparison analyses.
The Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ)
The Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ, Baker, McNeil & Siryk, 1985) is a self-report instrument composed of 67 Likert-type items. The SACQ consists of four scales that represent four aspects of college adjustment: Academic Adjustment (AA; 24 items); Social Adjustment (SA; 24), Personal Emotional Adjustment (PEA; 15), Goal Commitment-Institutional Attachment (IA; 15 items) and a full-scale Composite Score (CS). Subjects rated each item on a 9-point Likert scale with (1) indicating, "Applies very closely to me" and (9) indicating, "Doesn't apply to me at all."
Baker et al. (1985) reported that (Cronbach alpha) internal validity coefficients for the AA ranged between .84 and .88, between .90 and .91 for the SA, between .81 and .85 for the PEA, between .90 and .91 for the IA, and between .93 and .95 for the CS. Correlations among the subscales range from .36 and .87.
A comparison group was utilized in this study, including Non-MK Christian college students, taken from the same Christian colleges as the MK subjects. This permitted comparisons on measures of parental attachment, perceived social support, reverse culture shock and college adjustment. A detailed demographics sheet was given to the MKs, permitting a variety of within-group comparisons on the constructs.
Subjects were tested in group sessions of approximately 20 people at both Westmont College and Biola University. Each person received a questionnaire packet, and completed the measures in the following sequence: A demographics form depending on their MK or Non-MK status, PAQ, SSSQ, HCSS, and the SACQ. Free pizza was served at each session. There was no time limit set for the completion of these measures. The subjects signed an informed consent form to indicate their voluntary participation. All results were kept confidential by assigning code numbers, instead of using the subjects' names.
COMPARISON OF MK AND NON-MK GROUPS ON PERSONALITY MEASURES
In order to determine if differences in the personality measures could be explained by the MK experience, two-tailed t tests were conducted on the three scales of the Parental Attachment Questionnaire, and one-tailed t tests were conducted on the two scales of the Social Support Questionnaire, the Cultural Distance scale and the Interpersonal Distance scale of the Homecomer Culture Shock Scale and the five scales of the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire.
On the Affective Quality of Relationship scale, no significant difference was found between MKs and Non-MKs, t (1, 108) = -.65, p [greater than].05. On the Parents as Source of Social Support scale, no significant difference was found between MKs and Non-MKs, t (1, 108)=.75, p [greater than].05. MKs were found to have parents who facilitated their independence significantly more than the parents of Non-MKs did, t (1, 108) = -1.96, p [less than].05 (see Table 3). However, to control for Type 1 error, the significance level was modified using the Bonferroni correction, and this finding was no longer significant at the new significance level of p [less than].0045.
Perceived Social Support
No significant differences were found between MKs and Non-MKs on the Perception of Social Support scale, t (1,108) = 114, p [greater than].05, and the Satisfaction with Social Support scale, t (1, 107) = 150, p [greater than].05.
Reverse Culture Shock
MKs were found to experience significantly greater distance from their culture than Non-MKs experience, t (1, 104) 4.36, p [less than] .01 (See Table 3). Second, MKs were found to experience significantly greater interpersonal distance from others than NonMKs experience, t (1, 104) -4.43, p [less than] .01 (See Table 3). To control for Type 1 error, the significance level was modified using Bonferroni corrections, and these findings remained significant at p [less than] .0045.
No significant differences were found between MKs and Non-MKs on the Academic Adjustment scale, t (1, 108) = .53, p [greater than] .05, Social Adjustment scale, t (1, 107) = .08, p [greater than] .05, Personal-Emotional Adjustment scale, t (1, 107) 136, p [greater than] .05, Institutional Attachment scale, t (1, 107) =-.60, p [greater than] .05 and on the Composite scale, t (19, 108) = .25, p [greater than] .05.
WITHIN-GROUP COMPARISONS ON PERSONALITY MEASURES FOR MK SUBJECTS
In order to determine if differences in parental attachment could be explained by differences in MK demographic variables, two-tailed t tests were conduced on the three scales of the Parental Attachment Questionnaire, the two scales of the Social Support Questionnaire, the four scales of the Homecomer Culture Shock Scale, and the five scales of the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire.
T-Tests for Demographic Variables as a Function of Parental Attachment
Affective Quality of Relationship Scale. MKs who attended 5 or fewer schools overseas, were found to have greater affective quality in their parent-child relationship than MKs who attended more than 6 schools, t (1,46) -199, p [less than] .05 (See Table 4).
Parents as Facilitators of Independence Scale. Of the MKs located in Eastern/Southern Asia and Central/Southern Africa, MKs from Central/Southern Africa were found to have parents who facilitated their independence significantly greater than the parents of MKs from Central Asia, t (1, 26) -2.31, p [less than] .05 (See Table 4).
T-Tests for Demographic Variables as a Function of Perceived Social Support
Satisfaction with Social Support Scale. MKs who perceived themselves as "National" were found to experience significantly greater satisfaction with their social support than MKs who perceived themselves as "American," t (1,43) -199, p [less than].05 (See Table 5).
T-Tests for Demographic Variables as a Function of Reverse Culture Shock
Interpersonal Distance Scale. MKs who reentered the United States after the age of 15 were found to experience significantly greater interpersonal distance from others than those who reentered before the age of 15, t (1, 45) = 2.30, p [less than] .05. MKs who attended a boarding school overseas were found to experience significantly less interpersonal distance with others than those MKs who did not attend boarding school, t (1,46) = -2.05, p [less than] .05 (See Table 6).
Grief Scale. MKs who re-entered the United States after the age of 15 were found to experience greater grief over leaving their host culture than those who re-entered before the age of 15, t (1, 42) = 2.15, p [less than] .05. Second, MKs who experienced 10 or fewer transitions while overseas were found to experience more grief than those who experienced 11 or more transitions, t (1, 43) = -2.19, p [less than] .05 (See Table 6).
Composite Scale. M.Ks who perceived themselves as "National" were found to experience significantly greater reverse culture shock than MKs who perceived themselves as 'American,' t (1, 39) = -2.01, p [less than]. 05 (See Table 6).
T-Tests for Demographic Variables as a Function of College Adjustment
Social Adjustment. MKs who experienced 11 or more transitions overseas were found to experience greater social adjustment than MKs who experienced 10 or fewer transitions, t (1,47) = 2.03, p [less than].05 (See Table 7).
Bonferroni Corrections on Within Group Comparisons
To control for Type 1 error, the significance level on all of the aforementioned t- tests was modified using Bonferroni corrections, and these findings were no longer significant at the new significance level of p [less than].0045.
MULTIPLE REGRESSION ANALYSES OF PERSONALITY VARIABLES
A sequential stepwise multiple regression was chosen because previous research indicated that the most variance would be accounted for parental attachment (Priel & Shanda, 1995, Fray, 1988 & Kenny & Donaldson, 1992), and then social support (Ellers, 1980, Powell, 1987, Siebenaler, 1988 & Zea et al., 1995), and then reverse culture shock (Andrews, 1995, Pollack, 1987) and then least of all college adjustment.
Multiple Regression Analyses of Personality Variables Predicting College Adjustment for All Subjects
A sequential multiple regression was performed to investigate the amount of variance in college adjustment accounted for by parental attachment, perceived social support and the two scales from the reverse culture shock questionnaire for all participants. The block of the three PAQ scales were entered in the first step, followed by the two scales of the SSQ. The CD and ID scales of the HCCS were entered last. In combination, these three sets of factors accounted for 33.2% of the variance in college adjustment and the model was significant, [R.sup.2] = .332, F (7, 97) = 6.88, p [less than] .01 (see Table 8).
Multiple Regression Analyses of Personality Variables Predicting Reverse Culture Shock of MKs
A sequential multiple regression was performed to investigate the amount of variance in reverse culture shock accounted for by parental attachment and perceived social support for MK participants. The block of the three PAQ scales was entered in the first step, followed by the block of the two SSQ scales. The model was not significant, [R.sup.2] = .098, F (3, 41) = 1.49, p [greater than] .05, although Parents as a Source of Social Support made a unique contribution to the multiple correlation (p [less than]. 05). This indicates that the greater support one perceives from his or her parents, the less reversed culture shock is experienced (See Table 9).
Comparison of MK and Non-MK Participants
Disturbed parental relationships, decreased perceived social support and college maladjustment are increasingly becoming a concern among potential and current missionary personnel. However, the lack of significant documented differences between MKs and Non-MKs in this study may indicate that the MK is not necessarily at a greater risk.
It is important that missionary personnel and counselors be aware of this difference and design necessary clinical interve ntions accordingly. For instance, while MKs may be more equipped to act independently, their ability to connect with others maybe lacking.
A significant difference was found between MK and Non-MK participants on the 'Parents as Facilitators of Independence' scale of the PAQ. MK participants reported that their parents facilitated independence in their life significantly greater than Non-MK participants did. These findings challenge Broadus' (1981) research, which reported that missionary families were significantly higher in their cohesion scales and significantly lower in their adaptability scales on the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Scale. One would generally predict that a family low in adaptability would also be low in the facilitation of independence. Because most MKs undergo numerous transitions idiosyncratic to their parents' profession (White & Nesbit, 1985) and are exposed to diverse cultural experiences, parental facilitation of independence and autonomy may be significantly greater than for their Non-MK peers.
Perceived Social Support
This study expected, but did not find a significant difference between MKs and Non-MKs on the scales of the Social Support Questionnaire. This study failed to replicate Downie (1976), Ellers (1981) and Siebenaler (1988), who reported that MKs experience greater inadequacy in their social abilities, increased social adjustment problems and more interpersonal difficulties than their Non-MK peers. This lack of replication may be due to a difference in social constructs. Social ability, social adjustment and interpersonal skills are conceptually different than the perception of social support.
Reverse Culture Shock
In the effort to compare MKs and Non-MKs on this measure, two of the scales (CD and ID) of the HCSS were given to the Non-MKs. MKs reported greater cultural distance and greater interpersonal distance than their Non.MK peers did. This difference is readily attributed to the MK's re-entry experience. A negative reaction to American cultural values and difficulty in social adaptation are common challenges during the reacculturation process (Stelling, 1991).
This suggests that missionary personnel implement and expand re-entry programs designed to integrate Non-MKs back into the American culture. Educating MKs on the current American cultural norms, values, and trends may alleviate some of the initial distance felt from the culture. In addition, home churches could be helpful by providing educative assistance and social support when their missionaries and their children re-enter the U.S.
As evidenced by their higher score on the Interpersonal Distance scale, it is apparent that MKs experience more interpersonal distance from others than Non-MKs. Interventions designed to increase intimacy and trust in interpersonal relationships may be appropriate with MKs.
No significant differences were found between MKs and Non-MKs on the scales from the SACQ. I found it interesting that a significant difference on the social adjustment scale did not emerge, considering the significant difference found on the 'interpersonal distance' scale of the HCSS. The distance the MK perceives in his or her interpersonal relationships may not be impeding the social adjustment process. Rather, as a result of the numerous transitions, MKs may have grown content with greater independence and distance in their relationships.
In addition, the social adjustment scale on the SACQ may also be measuring different social processes than Downie (1976), Ellers (1981) and Siebenaler (1988) reported in their studies. Moreover, this current study may be representing a generational difference in the social adjustment of MKs. Because increased attention is being placed on preparing MKs for reverse culture shock, they may be more equipped to handle the social challenges of reacculturation than their predecessors were.
WITHIN-GROUP COMPARISONS OF MK PARTICIPANTS ON PERSONALITY VARIABLES
Number of Schools Attended. MKs who have attended 5 or fewer schools overseas were found to have greater 'Affective Quality in their Parent-Child' relationship than MKs who attended more than 6 schools. These findings extend Werkman et al. (1981) who found that mobile overseas teenagers have a decreased ability to engage in intimate relationships than U.S. students. The greater mobility may increase the stress within the family environment and decrease the affective quality in the home.
This study suggests that frequent changes of schools is a signal of potential duress in the child, parent or the result of the move, and further research should be performed to investigate the causal relations.
Location. MKs from Central/Southern Africa reported that their parents 'facilitated independence' more than the MKs from Central Asia reported. The values, customs and beliefs of the host culture are often adopted and integrated into the missionary's value system (Wilson, 1986). Because Central Asian cultures often place a strong value on family cohesion and unity, the MK parent may place similar importance on this, and less importance on the facilitation of independence.
Because the research clearly supports the correlation between autonomy and independence with college adjustment in North America (Bluestein, Walbridge, Friedlander & Palladino, 1991; Holmbeck & Wandrei, 1993; Kenny & Donaldson, 1992; Lopez, 1991; Rice, et al., 1995), MK parents in Eastern/Southern Asia who are planning on sending their children to college in North America may need to consider separating how they are raising their children from the cultural mores where they are living.
Perceived Social Support
Perception of Self. MKs who perceived themselves as nationals reported greater satisfaction with their social support than MKs who perceived themselves as Americans. This indicates that the MKs' perception of self is extremely important in their satisfaction with social support. Because the MK is neither an American nor a National, they often chose one cultural identity to identify with. This study suggests that missionary parents and personnel should encourage the MKs to integrate with their host culture. Greater satisfaction with their social support appears to be the positive outcome.
Reverse Culture Shock
Age of Re-Entry. MKs who re-entered the United States after the age of 15 reported significantly greater interpersonal distance from others and greater grief over leaving their host culture than those who re-entered before the age of 15. This finding supports Stelling (1991) and Fray's (1988) research, indicating that reacculturation transpires with the passage of time.
This author does not believe that below age 15 is a 'magic age' for re-entry, nor does this study warrant such a conclusion. However, this study does suggest that missionary personnel might encourage their missionaries to return before their child's late teen years. It might be that adolescent identity development is advantageous in the United States for later college adjustment. Conversely, this study may indicate that resolution of reverse culture shock transpires with time, and returning earlier will enable greater college adjustment in the end.
Boarding School. MKs who attended boarding school overseas were found to experience less interpersonal distance than MKs who did not attend boarding school. The close boarding environment may facilitate interpersonal skills and social bonding among the MKs who board. During re-entry, these MKs may more readily translate their interpersonal and social skills into the new culture, and experience less interpersonal distance as a result. This indicates that the overseas boarding school experience is not unquestionably equated with future social and college adjustment difficulties, nor is it necessarily equated with disturbed parental relationships.
Number of Transitions Overseas. MKs who experienced 10 or fewer transitions while overseas were found to experience more grief over leaving their host culture than those who experienced 11 or more transitions. This may imply that MKs who experienced fewer transitions more readily integrated into their host culture and became rooted in it. MKs who experienced numerous transitions may have developed "a sense of rootlessness" and detachment from their host culture (Sharp, 1985). Hence, they did not experience as much grief over leaving their overseas culture. Ultimately, it cannot be determined why multiple transitions were related to less grief upon re-entry and greater social adjustment. Further research could clarify this finding.
Perception of Self While overseas, MKs who perceived themselves as 'Nationals' were found to experience significantly greater reverse culture shock than MKs who perceived themselves as 'Americans.' These findings support Stelling's (1991) research that reported a sense of feeling 'at home' in a country was significantly related to greater reverse culture shock. Moreover, this study supports previous research (Martin, 1984; Sussman, 1986), which indicated that adaptability overseas, satisfaction with the overseas experience, and communication with host nationals are predictive of greater reverse culture shock.
However, as mentioned earlier, they also reported greater satisfaction with their social support than MKs who perceived themselves as Americans. In the end, despite experiencing more grief on re-entry, they may be better able to marshal the social support they need to adjust, hence becoming more resilient.
This suggests that missionary counselors and personnel should encourage families to create social and personal connections in both the home culture and the host culture. Moreover, they should specifically prepare and focus educative re-entry programs targeting MKs whom have integrated into the host culture. For MKs who have lived most of their life overseas, reverse culture shock may in all actuality be culture shock. Hence, missionary personnel should distinguish between MKs who will be acculturating and MKs who will be re-acculturating, and design their re-entry programs accordingly.
Number of Transitions. MKs who experienced 11 or more transitions overseas were found to experience significantly greater social adjustment than MKs who experienced 10 or fewer transitions. As mentioned earlier, MKs who experienced 11 or more transitions overseas reported less grief over leaving their host culture. As a result, they may be more emotionally equipped to socially adjust to the new culture. MKs who are grieving over the host culture may be unmotivated to socially connect with others, and experience more social adjustment difficulties as a result.
RELATIONSHIPS AMONG PARENTAL ATTACHMENT, PERCEIVED SOCIAL SUPPORT, REVERSE CULTURE SHOCK, AND COLLEGE ADJUSTMENT
Parental Attachment and Perceived Social Support
This was the first research study to investigate and report a positive relationship between adolescent attachment and perceived social support. It documented a significant positive relationship through multiple regression analyses. This was also the first research study to utilize comparison groups (MK and Non-MK participants) when documenting this correlation.
Parental Attachment and Reverse Culture Shock
This was the first study to investigate the relationship between parental attachment and reverse culture shock with MK subjects. I expected, but did not find, a significant relationship between parental attachment and reverse culture shock. Multiple Regression analyses failed to detect a significant relationship between the two constructs. This study did not support the findings of Fray (1988), who reported that family cohesiveness and adaptability, as well as emotional differentiation are related to decreased reverse culture shock.
Parental Attachment and College Adjustment
This study documented a significant relationship between parental attachment and college adjustment through multiple regression analyses. Greater parental attachment was related to increased college adjustment, replicating the previous research that reported this relationship (Kenny & Donaldson, 1992). In addition, this was the first study to utilize comparison groups of MK and Non-MK subjects when documenting this correlation. Confronting current parental attachment and family relationships appears to be fundamental in increasing college adjustment. This study suggests that both missionary counselors overseas and college counselors in the United States focus their attention on improving adolescent parental attachment.
Perceived Social Support and College Adjustment
This study utilized comparison groups (Non-MK and MK participants) when documenting the correlation between perceived social support and college adjustment. Regression analyses reveled that a model, including perceived social support as a predictor of college adjustment was significant for all participants.
LIMITATIONS OF THIS STUDY
First, the sample size of the MK group may have lacked the statistical power to detect a statistical difference between MKs and Non-MKs. In addition, the small sample size may have lacked the statistical power to detect all within-group differences. Moreover, the small sample size failed to detect significance using the Bonferroni correction. Finally, the original intent of the author was to obtain Non-MK participants and then match them with their MK participants on critical demographic variables. Unfortunately, due to limited sample sizes, this matching could not occur.
Second, because the MK students were taken from a Christian college, they were not necessarily representative of the entire young adult MK population. Furthermore, those students who choose to join the Mu Kappa Fraternity and then choose to fill out the questionnaires may not be representative of the entire young adult MK population. Most of the MKs who chose to participate in this study were members of Mu Kappa, (although not all of them were). Hence, it is important to note the MK sample may not be a representative sample, and may account for the failure to replicate earlier results on perceived social support (Downie, 1976, Ellers, 1981, & Siebenaler, 1988). Mu Kappa students may be more active.
Third, I did not differentiate between 'boarding school attendance' and 'boarding school residence.' This distinction would have further clarified the findings of this study.
First, I recommend further comparison groups be utilized, including military children, children of overseas diplomats and children of overseas business persons. These comparisons would provide increased information into the diverse 'third-culture' experience, differentiating the MK experience from other 'third culture experiences.'
Second, I recommend recruiting MK subjects who do not attend college, who attend a secular college and who attend a Christian college. Comparisons of these three groups of MK populations would further enhance current literature on MKs, distinguishing the effects of parental attachment, perceived social support and reverse culture shock for each population of individuals.
Third, I recommend replicating this study with a larger sample size in order to learn whether these results would be significant using the Bonferroni correction.
In conclusion, I recommend that all researchers, educators and clinicians continue to contribute current statistical research to the field of Mental Health and Missions. It is highly critical that well-researched interventions and preventative measures be implemented in missionary schools, mission organizations and counseling centers for missionaries and their families.
HUFF, JENNIFER L. Address: 16951 Sendero del Charro, Riverside, CA 92504. Title: Marriage and Family Therapist, Intern. Degrees: BA, Psychology and Communication Studies, Westmont College; MS, Clinical Psychology, California State University, Fullerton.
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Table 1 Demographic Characteristics for all Participants Total Subjects Variable N % Sex Female 71 64.5 Male 49 35.5 Year in College Freshman 50 45.5 Sophomore 32 29.1 Junior 18 16.4 Senior 9 8.2 Country of Birth United States 96 87.3 Other 14 12.7 Race Caucasian 84 76.4 Native American 3 2.7 Hispanic 7 6.4 African-American 1 .9 Asian-American 10 9.1 Other 5 4.5 Father's Education High School 6 5.5 Some College 16 14.5 BA/BS 31 28.2 Graduate Degree 55 50.0 Mother's Education High School 14 12.7 Some College 35 31.8 BA/BS 40 36.4 Graduate Degree 20 18.2 Parent's Income Less than 15,000 10 9.1 15,000-25,000 23 20.9 25,000-50,000 31 28.2 50,000-65,000 20 18.2 65,000-100,000 12 10.9 100,000+ 8 4.5 Table 2 Demographic Characteristics for MK Participants Total Subjects Variable N % Years Spent Overseas Less than 5 Years 12 26.6 5-10 years 16 35.5 11-15 years 13 28.8 16-19 7 15.5 Age at Departure Less than 5 years 28 62.2 6-10 years 12 26.6 11-15 years 6 13.3 16-19 years 2 4.4 Age at Re-entry Less than 5 years 2 4.4 6-10 years 3 6.6 11-15 years 7 15.5 16-19 years 36 80.0 Area Overseas Western Europe 6 13.3 Central America 5 11.1 South America 5 11.1 Eastern/Southern 15 33.3 Asia Central Asia 3 6.6 Central/South Africa 13 28.8 Number of Transitions Overseas Less than 5 14 31.1 6-10 Transitions 16 35.5 11-15 Transitions 12 26.7 16-20 Transitions 3 6.6 21+ Transitions 4 8.9 Separation from Parents Overseas Yes 25 55.6 No 20 44.4 Length of Separation from Parents One Week or Less 24 53.3 1-2 Weeks 3 6.6 1-2 Months 12 26.7 3-6 Months 6 13.3 More than 9 Months 2 4.4 Average number of Separations Per Year 0 Times 23 51.1 1-3 Times 18 40.0 4-6 Times 5 11.1 7+ Times 2 4.4 Number of schools Attended Overseas 1-5 Schools 30 66.7 6-10 Schools 18 40.0 Boarding School Residence Yes 14 31.1 No 35 77.8 Average Years Boarding 0 Years 33 73.3 1-3 Years 13 28.9 4-10 Years 36.7 Perception of Self American 29 64.4 National 16 35.6 Friendships Overseas With Americans 28 62.2 With Nationals 19 42.2 Future Career as Missionary Yes 26 57.8 No 19 42.2 Table 3 Comparisons of Means and Standard Deviations for Missionary Status on PAQ-PF, HCCS-CD and HCCS-ID Missionary n PAQ-PF t n HCCS- t n Status CD -1.96 [a][*] -4.36 [**] MK 62 59.10 59 24.53 59 (6.83) (8.86) Non-MK 48 56.05 47 18.51 47 (9.50) (5.21) Missionary HCCS- t Status ID -4.43 [**] MK 16.43 (5.62) Non-MK 11.97 (4.97) Note. PAQ-PF = Parental Attachment Questionnaire - Parents as Facilitators of Independence HCSS-CD - Homecomer Culture Shock Scale-Cultural Distance HCSS-ID = Homecomer Culture shock Scale-Interpersonal Distance. (a)Equal variances are not assumed. (**)p [less than] .01 (*)p [less than].05 Table 4 Comparisons of Means and Standard Deviations for Demographic Variables on the Parental Attachment Questionnaire Demographic n Affective t n Variable: Quality # of Schools Overseas -1.99 [*] [less than] 5 30 118.63 30 (9.91) [greater than or equal to] 6 18 111.00 18 (16.72) Location Overseas [a] -1.56 East/South Asia 15 111.00 15 (16.92) So/Cen. Africa 13 119.69 13 (11.48) Demographic Facilitate t Variable: Independence # of Schools Overseas -.66 [less than] 5 59.57 (6.17) [greater than or equal to] 6 58.22 (7.80) Location Overseas [a] 2.31 [*] East/South Asia 56.40 (7.53) So/Cen. Africa 61.92 (8.70) (a)Due to small population samples in the other locations, only Eastern/Southern Asia and Central/Southern Africa scores were utilized for analyses. Note. (*)p [less than] .05 Table 5 Comparisons of Means and Standard Deviations for Demographic Variables on the Two Scales of the Social Support Questionnaire Demographic n Perceived t n Satisfaction t Variable: Availability with Support Perception of Self -.17 -1.99 American 29 4.40 29 5.31 (1.37) (.55) National 16 4.47 16 5.69 (1.26) (.44) Note. (*)p [less than or equal to] .05 Table 6 Comparisons of Means and Standard Deviations for Demographic Variables on the Four Scales of the Homecomer Culture Shock Scale Demographic n Cultural t n Variable Distance Age of Entry 1.04 [less than] 14 11 21.91 11 (9.50) [greater than or equal to] 15 36 25.06 36 (8.61) Boarding School -.26 No 35 24.66 35 (9.47) Yes 13 23.92 13 (6.89) # of Transitions -.51 [less than] 10 30 24.96 30 (9.35) [greater than or equal to] 11 18 23.61 18 (7.92) Perception of Self -1.68 American 28 22.54 28 (8.38) National 16 26.86 16 (8.07) Demographic Interpersonal t n Variable Distance Age of Entry 2.30 [*] [less than] 14 12.82 11 (4.87) [greater than or equal to] 15 17.19 36 (5.69) Boarding School -2.19 [*] No 17.23 33 (5.97) Yes 13.54 12 (4.07) # of Transitions -.68 [less than] 10 16.67 27 (6.05) [greater than or equal to] 11 15.50 18 (5.23) Perception of Self -1.08 American 15.04 27 (5.43) National 16.94 14 (6.01) Demographic Grief t n Composite Variable Score Age of Entry -2.19 [*] [less than] 14 7.60 10 43.00 (2.63) (16.71) [greater than or equal to] 15 10.15 34 52.91 (3.45) (14.85) Boarding School -.39 No 9.70 33 51.94 (3.48) (16.44) Yes 9.25 12 47.92 (3.25) (12.94) # of Transitions 2.15 [*] [less than] 10 10.44 27 53.00 (3.49) (16.72) [greater than or equal to] 11 8.28 18 47.67 (2.85) (13.41) Perception of Self -1.40 American 8.81 27 46.48 (3.35) (14.62) National 10.21 14 55.50 (2.26) (13.11) Demographic t Variable Age of Entry 1.81 [less than] 14 [greater than or equal to] 15 Boarding School -.76 No Yes # of Transitions -1.13 [less than] 10 [greater than or equal to] 11 Perception of Self -2.01 [b] [*] American National (a)'Transition' is defined as a (1) move to a new dwelling place (2) a move to a different country or/an (3) a move to or from boarding school. (b)Equal variances are not assumed. Note. (*)p [less than] .05 (**)p [less than] .01. Table 7 Comparisons of Means and Standard Deviations for Demographic Variables on the Social Adjustment Scale of the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire Demographic Variable n Social Adjustment t # of Transitions a 2.03 [b] [*] [greater than or equal to]11 19 144.16 (20.28) [less than] 12 30 131.00 (24.81) (a)'Transition' is defined as a (1) move to a new dwelling place (2) a move to a different country or/and (3) a move to or from boarding school. (b)Equal variances are not assumed. Note. (*)p [less than] .05 Table 8 Sequential Multiple Regression of Personality Variables on College Adjustment for All Participants All Predictor t Beta PAQ AQ 1.97 .32 PF 1.25 .16 PS -.44 -.05 SSQ SSQA 1.22 -.11 SSQS 1.50 -.14 HCCS ID -1.39 -.14 CD -.96 -.10 Note. None of the predictor variables uniquely contributed to the model at p [less than] .05. Table 9 Sequential Regression Analyses of Personality Variables on Reverse Culture Shock for MK Participants MK Predictor t Beta PAQ AQ 1.87 .50 PF -.36 .08 PS 2.24 [*] .51 SSQ SSQA -.30 .05 SSQS 1.57 .27 Note. (*)p [less than] .05.
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|Author:||HUFF, JENNIFER L.|
|Publication:||Journal of Psychology and Theology|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2001|
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