A significant number of people can recall the difficulties of frequently moving from one place to the next during childhood, experiences that may result from parents with unconventional or rapidly-changing jobs, or other family circumstances. While there have always been some basic concerns about the psychological impacts of moving children on a regular basis, chief among them challenges in making and retaining friends, a recent study performed at the University of Virginia has suggested that frequent moves may be responsible for decreased well-being later on in life. The work focused on data collected at two points with a period of a decade between the two, and also found that those who exhibited introverted or neurotic traits were likely to be more severely impacted by the moving activity than their peers.
Information about participants’ personality and social styles was also gathered when researchers collected data in the mid-1990s and ten years later. Participants ranged in age from twenty five to seventy five, allowing for a wide population sample that may be especially well-representative. The researchers found that people who had moved frequently during childhood displayed a lower number of quality relationships, an issue which may lead to a lower overall quality of life. Among those who displayed neurotic traits, personal relationships factors seemed to have no effect on well-being, though the study’s lead author proposes this may be due to a tendency to experience many life elements in a more negative light.
The researchers call for more work to be completed to understand the specific relationship of childhood moving to adult well-being, principally because they suspect that a greater amount of detail may be able to help psychological health professionals make direct recommendations about moving or staying to concerned parents.
© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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