DEFINITION of 'Reverse Culture Shock'

Reverse culture shock is the emotional and psychological distress suffered by some people when they return home after a number of years overseas. This can result in unexpected difficulty in readjusting to the culture and values of the home country, now that the previously familiar has become unfamiliar.

In the business context, the advent of globalization has resulted in more and more employees being sent on lengthy assignments to other countries. With the number of expatriates who live and work in countries other than their own having increased in recent years, reverse culture shock is a phenomenon that is on the rise.

BREAKING DOWN 'Reverse Culture Shock'

The degree of reverse culture shock may be directly proportional to the length of time spent overseas – the longer the time spent abroad, the greater the shock factor upon the eventual return home. Another factor that may influence the magnitude of reverse culture shock is the extent of the difference in cultures between the expatriate's home country and the foreign country. The bigger the cultural difference, the greater the reverse culture shock likely upon return.

How Reverse Culture Shock Occurs

As an individual spends time overseas and gets more acclimated with their surroundings, they may grow more accustomed to the local norms than what they experienced at home. For instance, it is local custom to remove one’s shoes before entering a residence in numerous cultures. Adapting to such a custom may create a habit that is hard to break upon a return home. There may be a chance in pace for work and leisure that is initially disruptive to the lifestyle, then later becomes part of their new routine. This interchange in lifestyles may cause the traveler to put their native behavior and customs under scrutiny.

On a psychological and interpersonal level, the degree of reverse culture shock may be increased or lessened by the amount of communication that is maintained with family, friends, or coworkers in their home country. If there is little regular dialogue between the parties, it may be easier to detach from the customs and demeanor of the home nation in favor of the new culture. Furthermore, if the personal contacts back home express disinterest in hearing about the new experiences of the individual who is overseas, it may widen the divide between them.

Episodes of reverse culture shock typically are less severe for individuals who have traveled overseas and returned home more frequently and developed a perspective on interacting with other cultures.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Cross Culture

    Cross culture is the interaction of people from different backgrounds ...
  2. Globalization

    Globalization is the extension and integration of cross-border ...
  3. Supply Shock

    A supply shock is an unexpected event that changes the supply ...
  4. Reversal

    A reversal is a change in the direction of a price trend, which ...
  5. Payment Shock

    A payment shock is the risk that the payments due on a loan will ...
  6. Reverse Mortgage Initial Principal ...

    Reverse mortgage initial principal limit is the amount of money ...
Related Articles
  1. Financial Advisor

    Expect FINRA to Ask These Culture Questions

    This month, FINRA kicks off its culture examinations for brokerage firms. Here's how to cram for the test.
  2. IPF - Mortgage

    5 Signs a Reverse Mortgage Is a Bad Idea

    Here are the key situations when you should probably pass on this type of home loan.
  3. Personal Finance

    Advance Your Career With a Finance Job Overseas

    Many finance jobs have moved overseas with outsourcing providing cost benefits. Find out why taking a job in a foreign country could be a good career move.
  4. Personal Finance

    Is a Reverse Mortgage Right for You?

    There are pros and cons to consider before taking out a reverse mortgage on your home.
  5. IPF - Mortgage

    5 Signs a Reverse Mortgage Is a Good Idea

    If these five criteria describe your situation, a reverse mortgage might be a good idea for you.
  6. Personal Finance

    Know the Pros and Cons of Reverse Mortgages

    As with any financial product, there are costs and benefits to reverse mortgages.
  7. Financial Advisor

    How Reverse Mortgages Work

    Looking into a reverse mortgage may be a good option for accessing the equity in your home if you are retired.
  8. IPF - Mortgage

    Do You Qualify for a Reverse Mortgage?

    See whether you meet the age qualifications and other requirements for getting a reverse mortgage.
  9. Financial Advisor

    Reverse Mortgages: Has Their Time Arrived?

    The perception of reverse mortgages is changing. They can be an integral part of a carefully crafted retirement plan.
  10. IPF - Mortgage

    Who Needs a Proprietary Reverse Mortgage?

    Certain homeowners may find that a proprietary reverse mortgage allows them to borrow more against their home’s equity than a regular reverse mortgage.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What Are the Different Types of Reverse Mortgages?

    Discover the three different types of reverse mortgages available to homeowners aged 62 and older. Read Answer >>
  2. How do interpersonal skills influence a business culture?

    Interpersonal skills are vital to business culture because they determine not only how a person interacts with others, but ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center