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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Coping with cross-cultural re-entry stress : the development; implementation and evaluation of 1 day group workshop Greenwood, Allan W.

Abstract

The phenomena of cross-cultural adaptation has been an area of focus in cross-cultural counselling. More recently reverse culture shock (reentry), the stress associated with returning home after living in another country, has become an area of growing interest. Despite interest in the nature of this phenomena, few group programs have been designed to assist international sojourners in returning home. Even fewer programs have had an evaluation of their effects upon the participants. The purpose of this thesis is to: (a) identify and describe the conceptual basis for the development of a reentry program, (b) present an applied reentry program for assisting participants in their reentry adjustment, and (c) evaluate the short term effects of the reentry program upon the anxiety levels and re-entry awareness of the participants. The fundamental theoretical basis for the program design is that stress arises when expectations do not match experience, and that expectation involves a world view as defined by the sense of self. Levels of anxiety were investigated as one indicator of stress. Consequently the program attempted to increase awareness about reentry issues and to lower expectations about returning home, by an active multi-modal confrontation with aspects of the denied or ignored self-awareness. A full day group program was led by a trained facilitator and co-facilitator. Participants were a group (n=10) of international students planning upon returning home within six months and who had maintained a permanent residence outside their home country, for at least six months. A qualitative analysis of participants reactions to the program indicated that the participants generally found the program to be of high value, with the educational components and the sharing of personal strategies to be of most perceived benefit. Anxiety levels, as measured by the Spielberger State-Trait anxiety scale, did not change, measured pre and post group participation. While awareness levels about reentry, as measured by the prototype Martin, Brislin Reentry Awareness Instrument moved generally in the direction of increased awareness, as measured pre and post participation, only two areas changed significantly. Participants were significantly less likely (a) to expect that friends and family would be interested in hearing about their international experience (at p

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