What is adjustment? The adjustment process of Japanese returnee children

Naoko Moriyoshi, University of Pennsylvania


This study sought to understand how adjustment is described by different groups of people, and what factors affect the process of adjustment of Japanese returnee children. In order to understand the long-term process of adjustment, interviews, questionnaires, and case studies were conducted. In the interview study, 48 elementary and junior high school recent returnees with their mothers, 8 previous returnees/their mothers, and 15 teachers, and educational counselors participated in the study (Total of 119). The recent returnees and their mothers (96 participants) were followed up at intervals of 3 to 4 months for 1 year. Three questionnaire studies were conducted with 71 junior high school students (cases). Quantitative analyses were conducted with data obtained from the questionnaire study. Case studies were conducted with 2 junior high school students for 3 years. Qualitative and quantitative analyses of the data indicated that the receiving group (such as Japanese teachers and other Japanese students) tended to describe adjustment as either a linear-process or a multidirectional-process. Returnees, on the other hand, indicated that they go through one of four patterns of adjustment: (1) no major conflict; (2) pop-up/early conflict; (3) initial conflicts-later settlement; and (4) initial settlement-later conflicts. The incongruence between the receivers' expectation of returnee's adjustment and where the returnees actually were was found to be a significant source of added frustration for the returnees. Empathy from the receiving group as well as from family members was found to be an important factor of adjustment for the Japanese returnee students. Multiple regression analyses of the questionnaire data indicated that two key variables, stress and satisfaction, could be predicted by the following factors: level of stress at the returning age, degree of Japaneseness, and characteristics of host country; satisfaction with the degree of Japaneseness in school life, empathy, and active coping attitudes. In summary, major factors that seemed to affect the adjustment of Japanese returnees were: (1) empathy; (2) cognitive shift; (3) attitudes toward conflicts; (4) coping strategies; (5) communicative competence; (6) pull-factors; (7) preparedness to return; (8) experience of visiting home; and (9) identity as a Japanese.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Cognitive therapy|Mental health

Recommended Citation

Moriyoshi, Naoko, "What is adjustment? The adjustment process of Japanese returnee children" (2001). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3031698.