Frequent moves as a child may be a factor in adult health and well-being
A new study from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests that kids who move frequently to a new home are at higher risk of mental illness, substance abuse and even premature death as adults. A local psychologist says it isn't so much moving, but why they're moving, that impacts their health.
The study looked at more than a million people and found the more moves children make, the more likely they are to have mental illness, substance abuse or violent behavior and early death as adults. It was true regardless of income.
A psychologist at Children's Mercy emphasizes that the study showed only an association, not that moves actually cause those problems. She says what matters more is why a child is moving.
"Whether there was a significant series of events that created a lot of trauma or stressors on the child and the family," said Dr. Rochelle Harris.
Dr. Harris recommended getting kids involved in extracurricular activities as one way to help them after a move. She also suggested timing the move, whenever possible, so it's not during the school year.
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Learn more about the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Sciences at Children's Mercy.