Intercultural Adjustment Potential Scale (ICAPS)

The Intercultural Adjustment Potential Scale (ICAPS) is a test that reliably and validly measures four important psychological skills associated with successful intercultural adaptation and adjustment. Years of scientific research have shown that the four skills measured by the ICAPS are some of the most important predictors of adaptation and adjustment not only across cultures, but also within a society or culture (intracultural adaptation and adjustment). Thus, it’s a great tool to use to measure adjustment potential in general, whether going abroad, interacting with people from different cultures, or working within one’s own society and culture.

The ICAPS was initially developed over a six-year period involving 19 studies that had over 2,500 participants which established its scientific reliability and validity. Today, over 17,000 individuals from many different countries and cultures around the world have taken the ICAPS (see Scientific Evidence below for a listing of scientific publications documenting the reliability and validity of the ICAPS).


Who can Benefit from using the ICAPS?

Companies, training managers, trainers, and trainees can use the ICAPS to:

  • Help recruit and select individuals for international, intercultural, or overseas assignments, as part of a broad assessment procedure;
  • Identify individual strengths and weaknesses pre-departure;
  • Assess the efficacy of training programs;

Researchers can use the ICAPS as an instrument to assess psychological skills that have been empirically validated to predict intercultural adaptation and adjustment.

Easy to use!

Participants mark their responses to 55 items describing aspects of themselves. The test generally takes only 10-15 minutes to complete.

Five scores are generated, a total score and four scores corresponding to the four psychological skills necessary for adjustment. These are:

  • Emotion Regulation – Emotional Robustness: The ability to monitor and manage one’s emotional experiences and expressions, and to channel their energies in constructive ways.
  • Openness – Rigidity: The ability to encounter new experiences, emotions, and thoughts.
  • Flexibility and Creativity: The ability to assimilate new experiences, schemas, and ways of thinking
    into one’s own.
  • Critical Thinking and Social Conscientiousness: The ability to think outside the box in creative and autonomous ways, and to adhere to social norms.

Scientific Evidence

The following list of publications, many of which were published in peer-reviewed, scientific journals, document much of the original scientific evidence for the reliability and validity of the ICAPS. These studies have demonstrated that the ICAPS has been validated:

  • Using valid and reliable criterion variables
  • With positive effects in pre-post sojourns and training
  • In extreme group comparisons
  • With evidence for concurrent ecological, predictive ecological, incremental validity over demographics, incremental validity over personality, incremental validity over at least one other cross-cultural competence test
  • With cross-cultural samples
  • Using mixed methodologies

Note that some of the articles listed below contain reports of multiple studies.

  • Matsumoto, D., Yoo, S. H., & LeRoux, J. A. (2007). Emotion and intercultural communication. In Helga Kotthoff and Helen Spencer-Oatley (eds.), Handbook of Applied Linguistics, Volume 7: Intercultural Communication (pp. 77-98). Mouton – de Gruyter Publishers.
  • Matsumoto, D., Hirayama, S., & LeRoux, J. A. (2006). Psychological skills related to intercultural adjustment. In Wong, P. T. P., & Wong, L. C. J. (eds.), Handbook of multicultural perspectives on stress and coping (pp. 387-405). New York: Springer.
  • Matsumoto, D., LeRoux, J. A., Robles, Y., & Campos, G. (2007). The Intercultural Adjustment Potential Scale (ICAPS) predicts adjustment above and beyond personality and general intelligence. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 31(6)¸747-759.
  • Yoo, S. H., Matsumoto, D., & LeRoux, J. A. (2006). The influence of emotion recognition and emotion regulation on intercultural adjustment. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 30(3), 345-363.
  • Matsumoto, D., LeRoux, J. A., and Yoo, S. H. (2005). Emotion and intercultural communication. Kwansei Gakuin University Journal, 99, 15-38.
  • Matsumoto, D., LeRoux, J. A., Bernhard, R., & Gray, H. (2004). Unraveling the psychological correlates of intercultural adjustment potential. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 28(3-4), 281-309.
  • Matsumoto, D., LeRoux, J. A., Iwamoto, M., Choi, J. W., Rogers, D., Tatani, H., & Uchida, H. (2003). The robustness of the Intercultural Adjustment Potential Scale (ICAPS): The search for a universal psychological engine of adjustment. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 27, 543-562.
  • Matsumoto, D., & LeRoux, J. A. (2003). Measuring the psychological engine of intercultural adjustment: The Intercultural Adjustment Potential Scale (ICAPS). Journal of Intercultural Communication, 6, 37-52.
  • Matsumoto, D., LeRoux, J., Ratzlaff, C., Tatani, H., Uchida, H., Kim, C., & Araki, S. (2001). Development and validation of a measure of intercultural adjustment potential in Japanese sojourners: The Intercultural Adjustment Potential Scale (ICAPS). International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 25, 483-510.

The following article includes a review of 10 different tests of cross-cultural competence, including the ICAPS and others. Note that it is the only such review published in a peer-reviewed, scientific journal to date.

  • Matsumoto, D., & Hwang, H. C. (2013). Assessing cross-cultural competence: A review of available tests. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 44(6), 849-873. DOI: 10.1177/0022022113492891.

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