Research on Expatriates and their Families

Increased globalization has made work-related relocations and mobility more common in the recent years. Very often, relocating families are confronted with new challenges such as struggling with a sense of belonging, adapting to the new environment, and making new friends. Living abroad also allows relocating families to experience acculturation, a dual process of cultural and psychological change that takes place as a result of contact between two or more cultural groups. By living in different cultures, relocating families have the opportunities to develop skills to manage and adapt to changes, to be more open and accepting to different cultures and experiences. The ability to successfully adjust to this new environment can enrich their lives, while failure to manage these challenges can result in psychological well-being consequences such as increased psychosocial distress, depression, and lower marriage satisfaction. Even though work-related relocations and mobility is increasing and important, there are still a lot of unanswered questions regarding what happens to expatriate families while living abroad – why some families adjust better than others or what helps to promote better adjustment.

Our vision is to translate scientific psychological and social-cultural knowledge into tailored evidence-based practice. We therefore conduct scientific research to better understand the needs and challenges of relocating families. Based on findings from our studies, we offer tailored evidence-based interventions to promote positive well-being and adjustment of expatriate families in Switzerland. With your participation in our research, we can better understand the challenges and needs expatriate families face and be able to promote better well-being and adjustment while living in Switzerland. Our current and running studies are listed below. For further information, please contact our study team by email:

Sociocultural Adjustment and Well-being in Third Culture Kids and their Families: A Longitudinal Study
home abroad

Living within an international community comes with its unique challenges and opportunities. Big life changes can lead to adjustment difficulties and increased stress, which can be particularly demanding in an unfamiliar environment. Being away from home can be especially challenging for children and adolescents, and extra support can ease this transition and reduce ongoing problems.

Aims and design of the study

The study aims to better understand factors that promote positive adjustment and well-being during the relocation process. Therefore, we are seeking participants for a study on adjustment and well- being in Third Culture Kids, i.e. children and adolescents raised in a culture other than their parents’ or the culture named in their passport, and their families. During the study, participating parents and their children will be asked to complete an online questionnaire (10-15 minutes) twice, i.e. at the start of the study and one year after. In addition, we will conduct family interviews (50 minutes) for selected participants at the beginning of the study and one year later. Participating families will receive a reimbursement of CHF 30 or cinema vouchers for their effort and time.

How to participate

We are seeking English speaking families with children between 7-17 years old who moved to Switzerland because of employment reasons. If you are interested in participating in our study, please contact our study team by email:

Study team

Our study team consists of highly qualified international clinical psychologists who fully understand the unique challenges and constraints that international expatriates and their families face.


Division of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy Faculty of Psychology, University of Basel Missionsstrasse 62-64, 4055 Basel