Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Moving during childhood can be hazardous to your health and wellbeing


Public Release: 7-Jun-2016
Moving can be hazardous to your health and wellbeing
Adverse effects for adults linked to residence changes during childhood, according to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
Elsevier Health Sciences

An extensive, long-term study of Danish children followed into adulthood shows that moving to a new home during childhood increases the likelihood of multiple adverse outcomes later in life. This unique residential mobility study of 1.4 million people tracked from their 15th birthdays until their early forties appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Data were collected on all people born in Denmark from 1971 to 1997 documenting every residential childhood move from birth to 14 years. Each move was associated with the age of the child so that the impact of early-in-life moves could be contrasted with moves during the early teenage years. With a number of comprehensive national registries at their disposal, the team of researchers was able to measure and correlate subsequent negative events in adulthood, including attempted suicide, violent criminality, psychiatric illness, substance misuse, and natural and unnatural deaths.


The risk of adverse outcomes due to residential mobility during childhood was classified into three categories: self-directed and interpersonal violence: (attempted suicide, violent criminality), mental illness and substance misuse (any psychiatric diagnosis, substance misuse), and premature mortality (natural and unnatural deaths).

Thirty-seven percent of people studied relocated across a municipal boundary at least once before reaching their 15th birthdays, with multiple relocations occurring most frequently during infancy. Across all adverse outcomes studied, the highest risks were among individuals who moved frequently during early adolescence.

Statistical analysis was particularly robust. "Dose-response" relationships were evident for every outcome category and each additional move was associated with an incremental risk increase. For example, data analysis showed that risk increased with multiple moves at any age versus a single move, and that an even sharper spike in risk for violent offending was observed with multiple relocations within a single year. The attempted suicide risk increased steadily with rising age at the time of the move, and was markedly raised if multiple annual relocations occurred during early adolescence (12-14 years of age).


Interestingly the initial hypothesis that adverse outcomes might be more prevalent in households with lower SES [Socioeconomic status] was not borne out by this study, where markedly elevated risk due to residential moves during early/mid adolescence applied to all SES levels.


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