Article

The impact of strength-based interventions on the well-being of expatriate spouses.

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Abstract

In this current world of globalization, expatriates are a common factor among the majority of private and public organization, multi-lateral institutions and NGO’s. Nonetheless, ex-patriates do not often relocate alone. For this reason, spouses and families comprise an important socio-economic and psychological issue. However, despite the numerous amounts of research highlighting the poor levels of well-being among spouses, the field of psychology has failed to address this issue. Studies on strength-based interventions have demonstrated effective results to improve well-being. This study aims to explore the effects of a strength-based intervention on the wellbeing of ex-patriate spouses and to examine the difficulties and challenges spouses experienced when practicing it. Four ex-patriate’s spouses were interviewed before and after the intervention. The data was analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Three superordinate themes emerged 1) The struggle to practice the intervention (2) Search of novelty and excitement and (3) Well-being improvement. The results suggest that the effectiveness of the strengths intervention is influenced by multiple key elements affecting and in some cases, limiting spouse’s responses to the exercise. This research concludes that even though spouse’s well-being slightly improved, it also had positive effects on other psychological components such as self-concept, selfawareness and motivation. Finally, this study highlights the need for further research to better understand both the mechanisms by which practicing strengths contribute to this outcome and the complex rationalization process individuals go through when applying strengths.

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