Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

Marla Solomon


This paper discusses the impact of codependency upon the severity of culture shock. Using my personal experiences for the basis of the research, and interviews of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, I answer these main questions:

What are the experiences of a codependent person when s/ he goes through culture shock? How does the level of codependency affect the recovery period? What type of assistance does a codependent person need to get through culture shock? In further exploration, I discuss culture shock theories, crisis intervention models, coping strategies and codependency theories.

The main framework of my premise is Kalvero Oberg's Culture Shock UCurve (1960), which is also the framework for my own Helper Phase. I believe that the Helper Phase is an indicator of culture shock, in particularly a defense mechanism for those with a high level of codependency.

In conclusion, there are three basic casual explanations for culture shock: 1) loss of familiar cues, 2) breakdown of communication, and 3) identity crisis; all of which are also the same characteristics that a codependent needs in order to keep her/ himself in equilibrium: an identify that can be reinforced with communicated feedback from their support system through familiar cues and reenforcers.

I have ended the paper with a short explanation of the Awareness Wheel (Miller, et al. 1982), which I believe is essential in becoming self-aware. Self-awareness is key in overcoming codependency and culture shock.


Other Anthropology | Other Psychology