The Domains of Cross-Cultural Adjustment

An Empirical Study with International Students


  • Joana Campos University of Porto
  • Luisa Helena Pinto University of Porto
  • Thomas Hippler National University of Ireland



domains of cross-cultural adjustment, international students’ adjustment, higher education students, person-environment fit


This study examines the dimensionality of a new measure of international students’ adjustment using a sample of 189 international students from a public European University. Drawing on earlier conceptualizations of cross-cultural adjustment as a person-environment fit and a previous scale measuring adjustment from the expatriate literature, this study shows that this scale can be meaningfully adapted to the higher education context. Confirmatory factor analyses identified a stable 8-factor structure with adequate psychometric properties. Descriptive analysis confirms that international students are fairly adjusted in a number of distinct domains. The findings provide criterion-related validity by showing positive associations between host social interaction and host connectedness and students’ adjustment. This study contributes offers a theoretically based scale that assesses international students’ adjustment on a wide range of dimensions. It puts forward a useful tool for higher education counsellors and support services to monitor international students’ adjustment and avoid adjustment difficulties.

Author Biographies

Joana Campos, University of Porto

JOANA CAMPOS, M.Sc., received her master’s in management from the School of Economics in University of Porto. She is currently a Middle Office Analyst at a Portuguese energy company. Research interests include international students’ adjustment, cultural orientation, and issues of multiculturalism and diversity.

Luisa Helena Pinto, University of Porto

LUISA HELENA PINTO, PhD, is an Associate Professor at School of Economics in University of Porto. Her teaching interests include international human resource management, negotiation, and business methods research. Her research interests include global mobility, expatriation, tertiary education, recruiters’ biases, and perceived employability.

Thomas Hippler, National University of Ireland

THOMAS HIPPLER, PhD, was a Senior Lecturer in Management at National University of Ireland, Galway, when he passed away in November 2018. He held previous faculty positions at the University of Essex, at Swansea University, Queen’s University Belfast, and Webster University, Missouri. His research interests included global mobility management, mainly in the topics of international assignments and expatriates cross-cultural adjustment.


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How to Cite

Campos, J., Pinto, L. H., & Hippler, T. (2021). The Domains of Cross-Cultural Adjustment: An Empirical Study with International Students. Journal of International Students, 12(2).



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