Let it be: Expatriate couples' adjustment and the upside of avoiding conflicts

Kim J.P.M. van Erp, Ellen Giebels, Karen I. van der Zee, Marijtje A.J. van Duijn

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This research examines the moderating effect of conflict avoidance on the relationship between conflict and psychological adjustment among 45 expatriate couples at two points in time. We propose a model based on the actor-partner interdependence model, which assumes both intrapersonal and interpersonal effects, to address simultaneously the effects of one's own and the other's avoidance behavior. We found substantial support for our model, especially for expatriate spouses. As expected, and only for expatriate spouses, avoidance moderated the conflict-adjustment relationship such that both one's own and one's counterpart's avoidance behavior diminished the negative effect of conflicts. Because these effects were observed only at T2 and psychological adjustment decreased from T1 to T2, our research suggests that the impact of expatriation-associated interaction particularly manifests itself in the long run.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-560
Number of pages22
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • Conflict
  • Conflict avoidance
  • Dyadic interaction
  • Expatriate couples
  • Psychological adjustment


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