Chapter 4: The trailing spouse: an evolving global phenomenon
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This chapter focuses on a particular aspect of the family, the ‘trailing spouse’ that is following, or ‘trailing’, their partner but whose own job or career is not the reason for relocating. The chapter reviews the literature about the trailing spouse in the context of international relocations for work from the perspective of expatriation, and to a lesser extent migration. The focus on expatriation (rather than migration) is deliberate, given it is where the majority of the literature has been positioned and published, with some notable exceptions. The chapter begins by defining key terms, and goes on to consider the evolving research about the trailing spouse phenomenon in international relocations over 50 years. We then extensively review key themes in trailing spouse scholarship related to trailing spouse adjustment and support, LGBT and male trailing spouses, dual-career contexts, trailing spouses in missions/ clergy and military contexts, and the diversity of trailing spouses across race, ethnicity and religion. We conclude with a comprehensive future research agenda to take the research about this topic into the next decade.

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