LOS ANGELES, CA - Is your middle schooler saying that you're ruining his life by moving to a new city? Turns out he could actually be onto something.The American Journal of Preventive Medicine just published a massive study about how moving in childhood affects people as adults. And the results are pretty bleak.
Researchers had access to an incredible data set: records on literally every single person born in Denmark between 1971 and 1997.
When kids moved far enough that they had to change schools, they found an increased likelihood of psychiatric disorders, drug abuse, criminality, suicide rates, and unnatural mortality in adulthood.
Moving multiple times in a single year made long term harm even more likely. A child who moves at age 14 has double the risk of engaging in violent crime, abusing drugs, and committing suicide by middle age- even with researchers controlling for family income and psychiatric history.
Researchers wrote: "Relocated adolescents often face a double stress of adapting to an alien environment, a new school, and building new friendships and social networks, while simultaneously coping with the fundamental biological and developmental transitions that their peers also experience.”
It’s important to note that some moves do have positive outcomes for adolescents, such as relocating from a violent neighborhood to a safer one. If parents are aware of the risks, you can take special care to help your children cope. So do you move or not?