Communication Studies


Master of Arts (MA)


Gina G Barker

Primary Subject Area

Mass Communications; Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies


Cultural Identity, Identity, Intercultural Communication, Multiculturalism, TCK, Third Culture Kids


This study investigated whether Third Culture Kids, defined as people who lived in a country other than their passport country during their developmental years, perceived that their cross-cultural experiences during childhood produced in them a sense of confused cultural identity or a multicultural identity and whether they are able to successfully alternate between their two or more cultural identities and achieve intercultural communication competency in multiple cultures. Existing literature on TCKs focuses on the negative aspects of a life on the move and does not view TCKs in light of having a multicultural identity or multiple cultural identities. This study employed a qualitative data collection method known as biographical phenomenology and consisted of 19 participants. Results showed that TCKs are more apt to possess multiple cultural identities or a multicultural identity instead of a confused cultural identity and that, in turn, this may affect their sense of belonging. Additionally, results indicated that TCKs are able to successfully alternate between cultural identities and competently communicate interculturally.