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About us Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences Organization News PhD Defences BSS

Attachment security and Intercultural adjustment

PhD ceremony:Mr J. Wöhrle
When:April 15, 2019
Supervisors:prof. dr. K.I. van Oudenhoven-van der Zee, prof. dr. S. (Sabine) Otten
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Behavioural and Social Sciences

More and more people are temporarily or permanently moving to another country, for study, work, or as a refugee. Adjustment to the new cultural environment is not always smooth. Recent research suggests that in addition to the social context, personality dimensions influence how effectively individuals adjust to a new culture. In his thesis, Joachim Wöhrle investigated the role of attachment security in explaining whether people succeed in intercultural adjustment. Attachment security can best be understood as the degree to which individuals are able to trust others and themselves; it is learned early in life, through the interaction with caregivers such as the parents.In accordance with theory and previous research, the results of this thesis show that a high degree of attachment security is beneficial for psychological-, and especially social adjustment. The findings indicate that immigrants and international students with high levels of attachment security are better able to deal with stressful experiences, are more successful in mobilizing and maintaining social support and have more social trust. Moreover, it appears that attachment security is, at least in certain contexts, a better predictor of adjustment than other personality traits (such as intercultural traits), and that it can help to prevent stressors (such as financial distress, unfair treatment) or mitigate (distrust in political institutions) their influence.