A recent Irish study suggests that there may be a link between kids’ mental health and frequent moving to different homes during childhood.
The analysis tracked approximately 50,000 children in Northern Ireland from 2001 to 2011. Results showed that children who experience five or more moves are more than three times more likely to experience mental health distress later on.
The study also found that the experience of moving to a new home may have a worse impact on mental health for older children, especially if they have left behind friends and changed schools.
According to lead study author Foteini Tseliou of Queens University in Belfast, “Moving house can be a hugely stressful experience for the parents and the family as a whole as it can be associated with change in social environment and networks, and other aspects of the physical and social environment. Parents need to be aware that such a change can be even more stressful for children as they may be more sensitive and less resilient.”
The research team began by analyzing data on children aged eight and under in 2001. They used census records to assess ages and address changes. They then linked the data to mental health information at the end of the study in 2011.