I recently stumbled upon the ‘founder’ of TCK research, Dr. Ruth Hill Useem. You can find the full article on the TCK World website http://www.tckworld.com/useem/home.html. She did a Phd in Sociology, Anthropology, Social Psychology, and Psychology in 1947. She moved to India with her husband John Useem to conduct research and returned a second time with her three sons to do a study on overseas Americans. It was from this research and these life experiences that they coined the term ‘third culture’ and later ‘third culture kid’. She started publishing her research on third culture kids in the 1960s.
Dr. Ruth Useem did research on expat populations and overseas communities. She travelled to over 70 countries to do her research on TCKs. She has worked on or helped contribute to 30 different doctorate dissertations on third culture kids. Her main focus was looking at the impact that living abroad as children has on them as adults. Her findings were fascinating and more of her reports and articles can be found on the TCK World website. On one project in particular, she collected 700 questionnaires from adult third culture kids ages ranging from 25 to 90. Each questionnaire consisted of 20 pages of questions, which shows that she collected a great deal of information from these Adult TCKs! In the next posts, I will bring up the findings she came up with when looking at adults who had spent the majority of their developmental years outside their parent’s culture.