Alternative Title

Experience of individuals relocating within the United States

Publication Date


First Advisor

Kathleen Deal

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School for Social Work


Self-shock, Culture, Relocation, Self-identity, Household moving-Psychological aspects, Identity (Philosophical concept), Culture shock, Adjustment (Psychology)


This qualitative study explored the experience of relocation on self-identity. More specifically, this study focused on the concept of self-shock, the idea that being in a foreign environment impacts an individual’s ability to maintain a consistent identity. This research was based on 12 interviews that were conducted via video-conferencing call or in-person with individuals who have relocated domestically for the first time within the United States. The findings of this study suggest that individuals relocating domestically within the United States can and do experience self-shock. One reason for conducting this study is because relocating is commonplace within the United States due to professional and educational opportunities. As relocating can be stressful for many reasons, individuals in this transition may seek out professional support. This research helps to identify ways that an individual reacts to changes associated with relocation and how practitioners can assist in normalizing an individual’s reaction and struggle to change.




iii, 74 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2017. Includes bibliographical references (pages 63-65)