Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation
Counseling and Human Development
Counseling and Personnel Services, PhD
Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)
missionary; relationships; cultural adjustment
While research on the cultural adjustment of expatriates has existed for decades, information related to the cultural adjustment of missionaries is considerably lacking (Kimber, 2012). Information on missionary cultural adjustment often has been extrapolated from the greater expatriate population, in spite of differences existing between missionaries and other expatriates (Navara & James, 2002; 2005). This study examined the extent to which missionary relationships (with God, individuals from one’s host culture, individuals from one’s home culture, and other missionaries) correlate with and predict cultural adjustment among missionaries. Participants were recruited from the Church of the Nazarene’s Global Mission Department to complete an online survey consisting of the Sociocultural Adaptation Scale (SCAS; Ward & Kennedy, 1999), the Spiritual Assessment Inventory (SAI; Hall & Edwards, 1996; 2002), and the 2-Way Social Support Scale (SSS; Shakespeare-Finch & Obst, 2011). The final sample included 101 English-speaking missionaries who have been serving for at least three months. While results of the bivariate analyses did not find a correlation between cultural adjustment and overall level of relationship with God, there was a significant correlation found between cultural adjustment and the Instability subscale of the SAI, indicating that stability in one’s relationship with God is positively correlated with cultural adjustment. Results also indicated a significant correlation between cultural adjustment and missionaries’ relationships with individuals from their host culture. Additional bivariate analyses did not indicate a significant correlation between cultural adjustment and missionaries’ relationships with individuals from their home culture or cultural adjustment and relationships with other missionaries. Results of a multiple regression analysis indicated a significant positive relationship between cultural adjustment and the independent variables of relationship with God, individuals from one’s host culture, individuals from one’s home culture, and other missionaries. Further analysis indicated that missionary relationships with host nationals made a significant contribution to the multiple regression model, but no other variables had a significant impact on cultural adjustment. This study adds to the limited research on missionary cultural adjustment, providing information on the cultural adjustment process that can be used to increase the likelihood of missionary success in transitioning to a new cultural environment.
Warren, Sarah, "An investigation of relationship correlates and predictors of cultural adjustment among missionaries." (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 2844.