University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Dept. of Psychology


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Purpose Our understanding of the challenges and the broader role of spouses of expatriates is extremely limited. The purpose of the study was to examine the impact of spousal work restrictions and number of dependents on expatriates’ work life and overall life satisfaction using qualitative and quantitative analyses Design Data were collected from 416 Indian informational technology professionals working in USA. Hypothesized conditional process models were analyzed using the PROCESS tools. Findings Spousal work restrictions and number of dependents created complications in personal life of expatriates, which interfered with their work life resulting in lower overall life satisfaction. We identified six core classes of challenges faced by spouses of expatriates: financial issues, frustration, loss of respect/low confidence, boredom, social isolation, and domestic tension. Older expatriates were able to better manage the responsibilities associated with number of dependents. More importantly, unlike adjustment, the issues associated with spouse work restrictions did not seem to improve with age or length of time in the USA. Originality Although media outlets have from time to time brought to light the issues faced by spouses of expatriates, the present study provides more credible and complete findings by conducting a qualitative and quantitative research study. To our knowledge this is the first study that has investigated the complications experienced by expatriates’ due to the work restriction (more specifically, visa related) issues faced by the spouses of these expatriates. Our mixed method approach also helps to provide a more comprehensive picture of these complications.


Industrial and organizational psychology


H4 visa, trailing spouse, H-1B visa, work permit, expatriates, spousal work restriction


Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Health Psychology | Human Resources Management | Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Nonprofit Administration and Management | Organizational Behavior and Theory | Organization Development | Personality and Social Contexts

Document Type

grey literature



Language Code


Digital Collection

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Industrial and Organizational Psychology Translational Research and Working Papers



Impact of spousal work restrictions and number of dependents on expatriates’ work life and overall life satisfaction