TCK Background Research

Third Culture Kid research is a fairly new field that is small but rapidly expanding.  A search on PsychNet (a psychology research database) yielded 28 results for studies of Third Culture Kids.  The oldest study was from 1999, and all the rest were from the 21st century.  As far as I have found, there hasn’t been a study that measures the same thing I am researching- how much TCKs value different personality traits compared to nonTCKs.  There are a few studies, however, that touch on similar issues or shed some light on my research.  Here are a couple examples.

Personality traits in caucasian missionary kids raised in a different culture.
Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering. 2010, pp. 7883.
This study focuses on a subset of TCKs- Missionary Kids.  It used the MMPI-2 personality inventory, which makes it difficult to directly compare to the way I am studying personality traits using the Big Five method.  The findings of this study were largely inconclusive, except that Missionary Kids showed a higher presence of Schizoid traits; they experienced social withdrawal and difficulty.  This was very interesting to me, because in my experience the opposite has been true- TCKs I have met are more extroverted than most people.  I take this difference to stem from the fact that the TCK experience varies greatly depending on many factors, such as whether one’s parents are missionaries, military, government, or corporate employees.
Adult Third Culture Kids: Common themes, relational struggles and therapeutic experiences.
Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering. 2011, pp. 7068
This dissertation investigates the unique pros and cons of being a TCK.  The benefits include adaptability, a larger worldview, and being open-minded.  The challenges include lack of a stable identity, “rootlessness,” and feeling like an outcast.  These finding align wiht my hypothesis that TCKs will value and see themselves as having more open-mindedness but less emotional stability.
Are former “third-culture kids” the ideal business expatriates?
The Career Development International, Vol 9(2), 2004, 109-122. doi: 10.1108/13620430410526166
Similarly to the previous study, this one finds open-mindedness and flexibility to be characteristic of TCKs.  This study then went on to discuss the implications of these benefits to TCKs in the business world.