A STUDY OF SELF-AWARENESS, SELF-EFFICACY, AND SOJOURNER ADJUSTMENT OVER TIME
Brenner, Bradley R.
Lent, Robert W
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Most models of intercultural adjustment rely on the assumption that adjustment changes systematically over the course of a sojourn. However, studies in the intercultural transitions literature generally have not found evidence of systematic change, most likely hampered by their cross-sectional methodology. In the present study, changes in psychological and sociocultural intercultural adjustment were examined using data collected over time. Two additional constructs, intercultural adjustment self-efficacy beliefs and self-awareness, also were studied for their change over the course of a sojourn. Intercultural adjustment self-efficacy beliefs also were examined for their temporal precedence over intercultural adjustment. Moreover, intercultural adjustment self-efficacy was tested as a possible moderator in the relationship between self-awareness and adjustment. To examine the process and progression of intercultural adjustment, 52 U.S. university study abroad students reported their intercultural experiences. They provided responses to measures just prior to departure, and again at one-month intervals during their first three months overseas. Latent growth modeling with factor means estimation was the primary method of data analysis, while path analysis was used as a secondary method. It was found that sociocultural adjustment, intercultural adjustment self-efficacy, and self-awareness changed in a systematic fashion. The trajectory of sociocultural adjustment was found to be similar to a "U"-curve, self-efficacy demonstrated upward growth, and self-awareness was found to be similar to an inverted "U"-curve. No systematic change in psychological adjustment was found. Self-efficacy beliefs were shown to demonstrate temporal precedence over changing sociocultural beliefs. Lastly, intercultural adjustment self-efficacy was shown to moderate the relationship between self-awareness and sociocultural adjustment, such that the relationship between self-awareness and sociocultural adjustment was stronger at higher versus lower levels of intercultural adjustment self-efficacy. Future areas of research, both in the international and domestic spheres were discussed, as well as the implications of the current study for counseling interventions and its limitations.