Mental health and expatriate psychological adjustment post-COVID: towards a new framework

Publication Name

Personnel Review


Purpose: This paper aims to propose an expatriate psychological adjustment model that postulates expatriate mental health as an antecedent to psychological adjustment. It presents novel predeparture and post-arrival international human resource management (IHRM) expatriate management mental health supportive interventions. Design/methodology/approach: This paper critically reviews theoretical frameworks in the IHRM domain around expatriate psychological adjustments such as the U-Curve Adjustment Theory (Lysgaard, 1995), the Framework of International Adjustment (Black et al., 1991), the Dimensions of Expatriate Adjustment (Haslberger et al., 2013) and the Stress Outcome Model (Bader and Berg, 2014), in a quest to develop a new conceptual framework. This study presents a new conceptual framework along with propositions to take into consideration the relationship between mental health and expatriates' psychological adjustment. Findings: The findings suggest that mental health is an antecedent paramount to psychological adjustment. The paper proposes mental health-supportive IHRM expatriate management interventions to address the potential failure of expatriates' psychological adjustment. The authors elaborate on the IHRM expatriate management policies and practices at the home and host country to ensure the mental health of company-assigned expatriates sent on international assignments. Originality/value: The novel conceptual framework underpins mental health as the antecedent paramount to expatriate adjustment, taking into consid eration the elevated stress of situational events such as COVID-19, which had previously not received substantive formal consideration by research scholars in the IHRM domain. The conceptual framework encourages the inclusion of mental health as an antecedent in future research.

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