Erin E. Martin, Ph.D.
Missionary kids (MK) spend much of their developmental years overseas, creating a third culture, not fully identifying with either the passport or the host culture. Cultural homelessness, inner cultural conflict, a global viewpoint, reduced social connection with passport peers, and lack of roots are related to reentry adjustment difficulties for MKs. These difficulties can lead to grief, restlessness, social difficulties, anxiety, and feelings of isolation. The purpose of this study was to assess relationships between adult MK reentry adjustment and variables of their experience overseas. Adaptation theory and Pollock’s transition model provided the basis for the cultural adjustment process. Sussman’s theory of cultural identity and Berry’s acculturation theory were the framework for describing how MKs encounter the interaction of different cultures. A total of 72 participants recruited from various missionary and TCK organizations completed a web-based survey assessing the statistical relationship of reentry adjustment and their MK experience as measured by the Homecomer Culture Shock Scale (HCSS) and 5 Factor Wellness Inventory (5F-W). Regression analysis demonstrated MK adjustment was affected by amount of American cultural exposure, number of visits to the United States, and amount of U.S. contact. MK reentry adjustment may be improved by providing a reentry program along with increasing MKs’ American cultural exposure and U.S. visits and contact.