Exploring the relationship between identity orientation and symptoms of depression among third culture kids college students

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Third culture kids represent a significant portion of the population in the United Arab Emirates. However, little is known about the psychological problems that may be encountered by these kids. The third culture kids’ problems that received adequate attention included relationship and identity problems, unresolved grief, and high rates of geographic relocation. The main objective of this study is to examine the incidence of depression and dimensions of identity orientation among third culture kids studying in college. A further objective is to examine the ability of the different identity orientations to predict symptoms of depression in this population. A total of 250 adult third culture kids living in the United Arab Emirates were chosen to take part in this study. The measures administered in this study were Beck’s Depression Inventory (BDI-II) and the Aspects of Identity Questionnaire (AIQ IV-45). The results indicated that 27.2% of the participants reported moderate to severe depression. Concerning identity orientation, personal identity and relational identity orientations were the most extremely important to the respondents’ sense of who they are, whereas social identity and collective identity orientations were the least extremely important. Stepwise multiple regression revealed that gender and social identity orientation significantly predicted depression. It is concluded that more work needs to be done for a better understanding of this group of adult third culture kids and the understanding of the difficulties they encounter. Moreover, professionals need to provide appropriate psychological help for this group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)999-1010
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Instruction
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Learning
  • Multimedia
  • Teaching
  • Virtual simulation
  • Web-based application

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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