Using the Kawa Model to explore the ‘Third Culture Kid’ experience

Sorlie, Clarissa (2012) Using the Kawa Model to explore the ‘Third Culture Kid’ experience. In: College of Occupational Therapists (COT) Annual Conference, 12-14 June 2012, Glasgow, UK. (Unpublished)

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Children who accompany their expatriate parents overseas are referred to as ‘Third Culture Kids’ (TCKs) (Pollock and van Reken 2009). TCKs experience major transitions during their developmental years, a time when identity and sense of belonging are formed (Walters and Auton-Cuff 2009). This presentation is based on a semi-structured interview conducted with an adult TCK using the Kawa Model (Iwama 2006) as a framework. Metaphors are frequently used to describe the TCK experience as these ‘help the subject express feelings and situations with few words but much symbolism and descriptive experience’ (Zilber 2004, p.17). However, to the author’s knowledge, this is the first time the Kawa Model has been used in TCK research. University ethical approval was obtained for the study. The findings of this study will be discussed with consideration of implications for practice. Themes include the process of adjustment, the importance of the social environment and the influences on occupation. As the world becomes increasingly globalised, the probability of occupational therapists encountering TCKs grows. Evidence suggests that TCKs are more likely to attend higher education institutions than the general population (Cottrell, 2002), and educators will therefore also benefit from awareness of the experiences of this group.

Cottrell, AB (2002) ‘Educational and occupational choices of American adult Third Culture Kids’ in MG Ender (ed) Military brats and other global nomads: growing up in organization families. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers. pp.229–253.
Iwama MK (2006) The Kawa Model: culturally relevant occupational therapy. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Limited.
Pollock, D, van Reken R (2009) Third Culture Kids: growing up among worlds. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
Walters KA and Auton-Cuff FP (2009) ‘A story to tell: the identity development of women growing up as Third Culture Kids. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 12(7), 755–772.
Zilber E (2004) ‘Mobility in metaphor: colourful descriptions of Third Culture Kids’. International Schools Journal, 23(2),17–21.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Departments: Institute of Health > Rehabilitation and Sport Science
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2023 13:33
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2024 11:00


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