International assignments are a catalyst for changes in both the family and work lives of expatriates. This is especially true for the majority of expatriates who are married or in a committed relationship (Copeland & Norell, 2002; Harvey, 1985; Tung, 1987, 1999). Before the assignment, both partners have full lives intertwined with those of relatives, friends, colleagues, and community contacts. Upon arriving in the new country, however, they only have each other and, for some, their children. It is not uncommon that both partners work and share household responsibilities before a posting abroad (Harvey, 1995; Harvey & Wiese, 1998a; Reynolds & Bennett, 1991). The assignment often disturbs this balance as the expatriate becomes the sole earner and provider for the family and the expatriate partner becomes a household caretaker and a stay-at-home parent, having not only lost a job but also foregone a career, financial independence, and extended family support. Partners, even those who have not been employed before the move, find themselves faced with new tasks and expectations (e.g., Linehan & Scullion, 2001; Pellico & Stroh, 1997; Punnett, 1997; Reynolds & Bennett, 1991; Riusala & Suutari, 2000). In cases where the expatriate couple has children, additional challenges arise, such as children’s anguish and uncertainty related to identity formation, break-up of friendships, and disruption of schooling (Borstorff, Harris, Feild & Giles, 1997; De Leon & McPartlin, 1995; Harvey, 1985).
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