It’s no secret that moving as a kid isn’t fun (making new friends at a new school isn’t always easy, after all), but according to a recent study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, it might have an even more serious effect on children than we initially thought.
The study, which followed 1.5 million Danish children from age 15 to their early forties, found that those who moved during their childhood exhibited an overall higher rate of attempted suicides, violence, criminality, mental illness and substance abuse. Because Denmark tracks all changes in its population’s housing changes, it is the only country where conducting an investigation like this one is entirely possible, the study’s authors write.
Unsurprisingly, the more relocations a child was exposed to, the greater the risk was that the child would be affected. Also not surprising? That slightly older kids (think: those in middle school, in the 12 – 14 age group) were at the greatest risk. Interestingly enough, though, the study also found that the effect of moving did not change across socioeconomic statuses. So, regardless of the parents’ financial situation, kids might still be at risk of exhibiting negative outcomes after a childhood move.
Of course, some families just can’t help moving (like those in the military or those with a financial need to relocate), but it’s more important than ever to keep an eye on the kiddos through the process. The doctors behind the study suggest monitoring your child’s psychological needs by cooperating with officials in health and social services, schools and other public agencies after a move.