Presentation Title

The Third Culture Kid's Guide to Making Friends: Qualitative Comparison of the Self-Disclosure Tendencies of Military Dependents and Missionary Kids

Presenter Information

Hannah Rauhut, Messiah CollegeFollow

Date

5-1-2020

Description

Third-culture kids often go largely unnoticed by mainstream culture; they are simultaneously from everywhere and nowhere, rarely calling one place "home." Scattered around the world in a myriad of countries and continents, their lives are comprised of a collection of cultures, each with stories worthy of our time and attention. American sociologist and anthropologist Ruth Hill Useem originally coined the term "third-culture kid" in 1976 to describe children whose parents are employed overseas and are attached to a third, interstitial culture distinct from their country of citizenship (first culture) and their country of residence (second culture). Traditional third-culture kids (TCKs) include the children of military members, missionaries, diplomats, and foreign service workers (the present study focuses on military kids and missionary kids). The current body of literature examining the lives and patterns of TCKs centers primarily on psychological and sociocultural research, and little attention has been devoted to the study of the communicative practices of both military dependents and missionary kids. In this qualitative study, I seek to explore the following research questions: RQ1) How do the self-disclosure tendencies of military dependents differ from missionary kids regarding relationship formation? and RQ2) Is the process of self-disclosure expedited or delayed for military dependents compared to missionary kids in relationship formation? Utilizing Altman and Taylor's social penetration theory as a lens of analysis, I conducted two separate focus groups of college-aged military dependents and missionary kids to code their responses for an interpretive thematic analysis of their respective self-disclosure tendencies.

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May 1st, 12:00 AM

The Third Culture Kid's Guide to Making Friends: Qualitative Comparison of the Self-Disclosure Tendencies of Military Dependents and Missionary Kids

Third-culture kids often go largely unnoticed by mainstream culture; they are simultaneously from everywhere and nowhere, rarely calling one place "home." Scattered around the world in a myriad of countries and continents, their lives are comprised of a collection of cultures, each with stories worthy of our time and attention. American sociologist and anthropologist Ruth Hill Useem originally coined the term "third-culture kid" in 1976 to describe children whose parents are employed overseas and are attached to a third, interstitial culture distinct from their country of citizenship (first culture) and their country of residence (second culture). Traditional third-culture kids (TCKs) include the children of military members, missionaries, diplomats, and foreign service workers (the present study focuses on military kids and missionary kids). The current body of literature examining the lives and patterns of TCKs centers primarily on psychological and sociocultural research, and little attention has been devoted to the study of the communicative practices of both military dependents and missionary kids. In this qualitative study, I seek to explore the following research questions: RQ1) How do the self-disclosure tendencies of military dependents differ from missionary kids regarding relationship formation? and RQ2) Is the process of self-disclosure expedited or delayed for military dependents compared to missionary kids in relationship formation? Utilizing Altman and Taylor's social penetration theory as a lens of analysis, I conducted two separate focus groups of college-aged military dependents and missionary kids to code their responses for an interpretive thematic analysis of their respective self-disclosure tendencies.