Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Mark McMinn, PhD.

Second Advisor

Winston Seegobin, PsyD.

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Hamilton


Missionary Kids (MKs) encounter challenges in adjusting to college due to cross-cultural transitions and unique experiences related to missionary life. Though trauma is more common among missionaries than for the general American population, little is known regarding the impact of past trauma on missionary kids as they adjust to college. This study compared adjustment to college and psychological well-being of missionary kids and students who are not children of missionaries. The extent to which students have experienced trauma was used as a covariate in the study. MK students were recruited through college organizations and missions’ agencies. They were asked to fill out a survey with measures of past trauma, psychological wellbeing, resilience and college adjustment at the beginning of second semester of their first year of college. Participants who completed the first survey were sent a follow up survey three months later to measure continued college-adjustment and resilience. Consistent with my hypothesis, resilience was positively correlated with college adjustment for both MKs and our comparison group. Contrary to my hypothesis, the MKs in this study did not report more trauma than their non-MK peers. Their scores for resilience and overall college adjustment were also similar topeers’. MKs did report significantly more homesickness in their second semester of college. This finding is consistent with the well-documented grief and loss experienced by MKs. Future support for MKs should take into account the impact of complex grief on college adjustment.