Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Honours


School of Psychology and Social Sciences


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Supervisor

Dr Justine Dandy


This study explored the nature of ethnic identity and its relationship to psychological wellbeing (PWB) in third culture kids (TCKs). Ethnic identity achievement in acculturating individuals (e.g., migrants) is known to furnish one with a sense of belonging to one's group together with desirable psychological outcomes. Ethnic identity construction can be more complex in TCKs because of exposure to multiple cultural contexts during developmental years. Seven TCKs currently residing in Australia were interviewed. Analysis proceeded according to Ricoeur's hermeneutic phenomenology. Two themes were elucidated: 'Making sense of identity' and 'sense of belonging and PWB'. Single and multiple (blended and alternating) TCK ethnic identities were evident. A sense of belonging was positively associated with PWB. There was no support for relationship of nature of ethnic identity to PWB. The usefulness of Ricouer's methodology and of pictorial depictions as an aid to ethnic identity research have been demonstrated. Implications for parents, associated sending organisations (e.g., military) and the helping professions as well as suggestions for future research have been discussed.