Adjustment in third culture kids: A systematic review of literature

Jones, Emma Marchal and Gaab, Jens and Reed, Marnie and Ooi, Yoon Phaik. (2022) Adjustment in third culture kids: A systematic review of literature. Frontiers in Psychology, 13. p. 939044.

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Third Culture Kids (TCKs) are children of expatriates who live in a culture other than their country of nationality or their parent's country of nationality for a significant part of their childhood. Past research has indicated that adjustment is a key factor in the success of global mobility. However, current research in the area of TCK adjustment is lacking. This systematic review aims to present and summarize all available published scientific data on the adjustment of internationally mobile children and adolescents who relocate with their families. We aim to understand factors related to TCK adjustment, highlight lacking research areas, and define areas of interest for future research. The eligibility criteria for inclusion in the review were: traditional TCKs; aged 7-17 years; measures taken during the relocation; outcome variables of wellbeing, psychological adjustment or social adjustment, or socio-cultural adjustment or adjustment. An initial search across eight databases in December 2021 yielded 9,433 studies, which were included in COVIDENCE and reviewed independently by two researchers at each phase. We finally included 14 studies in this study, 10 of which presented quantitative data. Extracted quantitative and qualitative studies were abstracted, and the main findings are presented using a consistent grid of codes: an initial computerized lexical scan (Leximancer) of all included papers generated a preliminary list of topics and their frequencies. We refined these initial topics using the most prominent theories around the topics of TCK, adjustment, and the extracted theories from selected papers and created a codebook. Then we abstracted the quantitative data from the selected studies and organized the statistically significant findings according to the codes. Lastly, we abstracted and synthesized the findings from qualitative studies. Efforts were made to present the available data within a reading grid, which enhances the understanding of mechanisms specific to the sample population and also makes it apparent where more research is needed. Specifically, findings suggest a need for a more inclusive multi-trajectory adjustment model and a better definition of the ecological sample. The coding system for the extraction and analysis in this systematic review may be a guide for researchers planning future studies on TCK adjustment.
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology
UniBasel Contributors:Marchal-Jones, Emma and Reed, Marnie Olivia and Gaab, Jens and Ooi, Yoon Phaik
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Frontiers Media
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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edoc DOI:
Last Modified:08 Jun 2023 08:31
Deposited On:05 Dec 2022 08:22

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