Publication Date

Spring 2018


School of Behavioral Sciences




Cross-cultural transitions are often difficult for individuals of any background, and are associated with such difficulties as missing friends and family, ignorance of one’s home culture, culture shock, and cultural homelessness. These issues have led researchers to seek out those factors that are common to resilient individuals. Third Culture Kids are a unique population that commonly experiences periods of adjustment and transition, and are a focus of this study. From the literature, several protective trait-based features have been identified: self-efficacy, self-esteem, extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, social connectedness, ethnic identity, cross-cultural identity, emotional stability, and cultural flexibility. Using self-report survey responses from a sample of TCKs at a large, private university, it was determined that self-efficacy, agreeableness, and cultural flexibility were self-identified as important for making successful cross-cultural transitions, while ethnic identity, cross-cultural identity, and extroversion were not considered as important. Self-efficacy, social connectedness, and cultural flexibility were considered critically important, while ethnic identity and cross-culture had minimal importance. These results, though having limited generalizability, could be useful to laypeople and mental health professionals seeking to meet the needs of TCKs, and for parents seeking to raise resilient TCKs.