Macquarie University
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Work and non-work adjustment of Mexican skilled migrants in Australia

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posted on 2022-03-28, 11:16 authored by Fabiola Barba Ponce
This thesis examines quantitative data on adjustment in work and non-work domains for a sample of Mexican skilled migrants in Australia. While the literature on adjustment in situations of international mobility has expanded in recent decades, the specific study of skilled migration has lagged behind, despite the fact that it accounts for a growing sector of the globalised workforce. This study addresses that gap, furnishing new data on a specific group of skilled migrants in Australia and offering a robust theoretical framework for its interpretation. Dawis and Lofquist's (1984) Minnesota Theory of Work adjustment is employed as a guide for developing a framework to understand adjustment. Black and Stephen's (1989) influential model of tripartite adjustment, including work, non-work and interaction adjustment, is used to identify the types of adjustment examined. The proposed framework includes demands-abilities (D-A) fit and needs-supplies (N-S) fit in both work and non-work environments as predictors of adjustment, with the additional variable of social support. Intention to leave Australia is considered the outcome moderated by these predictors. In its first three chapters, this thesis presents an introduction to skilled migration, the theoretical underpinnings for the understanding of migrants' adjustment and the methodology applied for the three-wave longitudinal study. Detailed explanation of the sample and discussion of the challenges in surveying small and geographically-dispersed populations precede the three empirical chapters. Cross-sectional analyses show support for the proposed model, demonstrating that fit at work, fit with the culture and social support by host nationals (Australians) relate to the tripartite model of adjustment proposed by Black and Stephens (1989). Qualitative data indicate that Mexican skilled migrants consider the most challenging aspects of adjusting to their work and non-work life in Australia to be finding their first job, making friends and networking, having their immediate family a long way away and having difficulties with Australian English. Longitudinal analysis examines the mediation effect of adjustment in the relationship between P-E fit work, P-E fit culture and support from Australians and the three types of adjustment. Drawing on data collected over three waves, the results demonstrate that neither PE fit work nor support predicted adjustment across time. Furthermore, the mediational effect of adjustment only applied to the relationship between P-E fit culture and intention to leave. However, post-hoc analyses indicated that when skilled migrants experienced high levels of PE fit culture, there was a positive effect of P-E fit work upon work adjustment. By including non-work variables, this study highlights the importance of considering environments other than work when studying international adjustment and its outcomes. The third analysis considered the time-dependent nature of adjustment via latent growth modelling (LGM). While work and interaction adjustment showed a positive linear growth over the course of the study, skilled migrants' non-work adjustment plateaued after six months. In addition, only P-E fit work was shown to be a significant predictor of the acceleration of its corresponding adjustment trajectory. The final discussion outlines the implications for theory and practice, along with strengths, limitations and suggestions for future research. Overall, the findings of this thesis contribute to the adjustment literature by providing scholars with new information in the understanding of the process experienced by growing skilled migrant populations.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Overview of Research on Skilled Migrant Adjustment -- Chapter 2: Theoretical Framework for Understanding Skilled Migrants' Adjustment -- Chapter 3: Methodology -- Chapter 4: Cross-sectional Results of P-E fit and the Adjustment Model in Mexican Skilled -- Chapter 5: Longitudinal Results: Effect of P-E fit, Support and Adjustment in Mexican Skilled Migrants' Intention to Leave Australia -- Chapter 6: Mexican Adjustment Trends Over Time -- Chapter 7: General Discussion -- Appendices


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 177-225

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Psychology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Barbara Griffin

Additional Supervisor 1

Julie Fitness


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1 online resource (xiv, 252 pages) illustrations

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