Special People? An Exploratory Study into Re-entering Missionaries' Identity and Resilience
Home country re-entry from cross-cultural missionary work abroad may be associated with psychological distress. Re-entrants experience multiple losses including loss of identity which may be associated with personal/relational identity gaps and depersonalization/dehumanization. However, research suggests that some re-entrants are resilient with good mental health, while others are fragile with poor mental health. The aims of this paper are to explore the nature and frequency of re-entering missionaries’ identity gaps and their depersonalization/dehumanization in resilient and fragile re-entrants. Fifteen re-entering adult Australian cross-cultural missionary workers from four interdenominational Australian mission organizations completed semi-structured interviews. Results were analysed using modified Consensual Qualitative Research methods. Links were established between personal/relational identity gaps, depersonalization/dehumanization and resilience on re-entry. Implications for re-entrants’ care are discussed with suggestions for further research.