Moving Houses in Childhood Can Affect Long-Term Health
New findings from a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggest that moving houses during childhood can affect health and well-being into middle-age, including increased risks of suicide and mental illness.
The research, led by Dr. Roger T. Webb from the Centre for Mental Health and Safety at the University of Manchester in the UK, was based on a long-term study of Danish children born from 1971 to 1997. Included in the study's dataset was every residential move from birth to the age of 14 for all of the children involved. Citing the country's "uniquely complete and accurate registration of all residential changes in its population," Dr. Webb noted that "Denmark is the only country where it is currently possible to conduct such a comprehensive national investigation of childhood residential mobility and risk of adverse outcomes in later life."
The implications of the study's results are remarkably far-reaching, Dr. Webb said.
"Although frequent residential mobility could be a marker for familial psychosocial difficulties," he said, "the elevated risks were observed across the socioeconomic spectrum, and mobility may be intrinsically harmful. Health and social services, schools, and other public agencies should be vigilant of the psychological needs of relocated adolescents, including those from affluent as well as deprived families."