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June 4th, 2010
05:58 PM ET

Frequent moves in childhood linked to poor outcomes

By Elizabeth Landau
CNN.com Health Writer/Producer

The stress of moving on children may carry negative effects on mental health and happiness in adulthood, a new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests.

People who had moved more as children were more likely to report lower life satisfaction and psychological well-being, regardless of age, gender and education level. These people also said they had fewer quality social relationships in adulthood than those who moved less in their youth.

Study participants came from a sample of more than 7,000 Americans adults who were contacted in 1994 and 1995. Nearly 5,000 of them completed additional surveys 10 years later that included questions about life satisfaction, personality, and how many times they moved to a "totally new neighborhood or town" as children.

Personality may play a big role in this, the authors wrote. Previous research has shown that high extraversion and low neuroticism are strongly associated with most aspects of well-being. The authors of the current study found that introverted participants who said they had moved frequently as children said they had lower levels of life satisfaction and psychological well-being than introverts who had not moved often. Introverts who had moved a lot as children also had a small increased likelihood of dying between survey periods.

When children move to different places, they are forced to leave their friendships behind and make new ones, which isn't always easy, the authors note. Introverted children may have a harder time joining a new social circle and developing close relationships than more outgoing kids, meaning the shy ones may have more of a negative experience adjusting.

One limitation of the study is that some adults may not remember how many times they moved to a new neighborhood as children, and these results come from self-reported data. Another is that some participants may not have known what constituted a "totally new neighborhood," or what ages are included in "childhood," when taking the survey.

Further research should be done on the subject before the findings should influence anyone's decisions about moving, the authors wrote.

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soundoff (818 Responses)
  1. Debbie Jones

    Wow, does this article hit home!!!

    I am 50 years old and I can't begin to tell you how the moves we made in my childhood (due to my father's career) still affect me. I have three siblings and not one of us graduated from the same high school. I know I went to two high schools. It is hard for me to remember if it was the same for my siblings. That was just the high school years, there were moves prior to that.

    Social status was non-existent. I would just start to establish friendships and Dad would come home and tell us he was transferred.

    I think you develop this "why bother getting attached to anyone/anything" attitude and maybe attitude isn't the correct word. I wouldn't consider myself a loner but I am certainly not one to make my presence known. I have a great job and I am a hard worker but in other aspects of my life I am not a "go-getter"

    I remember ever so vividly the move in the middle of my sophmore year of high school. It was from Ohio to New York. I had my first true boyfriend in Ohio. To this day I remember how and I can only think of one word to describe the feeling that day, traumatic!!!! It was awful saying goodbye to him. I know I was only a teenager, but for years my life was full of "good-byes" and now I had to say it to someone I thought was my true love. I can see that whole experience right in front of me to this day.

    I could go on and on here but will close with a good bye to me are the worst two words in the english vocabulary and feel those two words have played a big part in relationships/friendships that I have encountered through the years.

    Debbie

    June 4, 2010 at 22:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Barbara G Cleveland

    Seems like the answer depends on who constituted the study group.

    I was an Army Brat as a child, and my children moved numerous times as well due to job changes/promotions. In both cases we were taught that frequent moves would be a fact of life. It was something we expected.

    I agree that if one is compelled to move due to unfortunate circumstances, it would affect their psychological well-being.

    June 4, 2010 at 23:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Frank

    What study(ies)? Indicating a need for further research is usually an indicator that the present research somehow did not adequately analyze a phenomena or that it is an anecdotal interpretation of data.

    June 4, 2010 at 23:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • A medical researcher

      Yes, it means some areas were inconclusive, but in no way means the study was useless. Greater than 90% of all studies state the need for further research. It is the only way higher levels of evidence can be created. Literature reviews and meta-analyses require several well executed studies to be accomplished. A meta-analysis is the highest level of evidence and typically includes 5 or more studies on a subject.

      September 2, 2010 at 01:27 | Report abuse |
  4. KBA

    Totally disagree with this. My son has lived all over the world since he was two. We are a very tight knit family and he has always been happy, outgoing and well adjusted. I think that if you take time to be with your child, no matter where you are or how often you move, your child will be able to cope.

    June 5, 2010 at 00:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NYGAL

      COPE?? Is that your very very low threshhold of whether your son is doing well in life...I guess some people just need to justify their selfish decisions. I have several friends who either moved many times due to their parents selfishness of always wanting a bigger, better house and material things, yet they were chronically depressed and felt they had no roots in their lives and had a hard time making friends or getting close to anyone when they were older. THe facts are against you, KBA. But stay in a delusional world just to satisfy your selfish lifestyle. You'll see...

      January 17, 2011 at 08:43 | Report abuse |
  5. susan woody

    I am mortified! Do you know how many children of Armed Forces career people get draged around this globe? I had a blast. Always daydreaming about the new place and it made me able to move in and out of any clique I wanted. Mad skills at sizing up people and situations. I could go on...

    June 5, 2010 at 00:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. LouAz

    Au contrare (or however the french spell it). I am a Service Brat. Moved lots, knew others that moved more than I did. Still have many Service Brat friends from High School. All in all, they are an exceptional, well balanced, group of achievers. Almost all college grads, few divorces, pretty good group of offspring. Few more divorces among the females, but majority have been married once. Great mix of Enlisted and Officer. Didn't make much difference to all of us. I think all the moving around made us a little more diverse, tolerant, and adaptable than many that never left the city they were born in. Home is where the heart is.
    Born '42 Ft Worth Tx.,Shanghai China '47, Nanking China '48, Itazuki Japan '49, Nagoya Japan '49, Waco TX '50, Arlington VA '53, Hickham AFB HI '58, Los Angeles CA '61, Join USAF '63, Dover AFB DL, Kadena AFB Okinawa '66, Udorn RTAFB Thailand '67, get out of USAF and wife puts me thru College in Los Angeles CA, Graduate with a couple of Engineering Degrees '73, open my own auto shop, sell it in '76, work for Turbocharger Company till '79, get great job in Phoenix AZ in late '79, and retired from Aerospace Engineering here in Aridzona in 2002. Still married to my first wife for 47 years. I am a typical Service Brat. I don't remember any shy or introverted kids among my playmates growing up.
    There are LOTS of Service Brats. I think we are pretty good citizens, family oriented, and pretty "normal".

    June 5, 2010 at 01:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Elizabeth Robinson

    I find that the constant moves in our family, during the younger years of my children's development, made them outgoing, confident, and taught them to make friends easily.

    Both are very extroverted, open and have jobs at which they handle and deal with many different people, in two languages, and two countries.

    They learn how not to hord things they dont need, and have become expert garage sale organizers! They can pick up and move from one country to another on a whim, and are sought in both countries for employment by previous employers.

    I guess there are exceptions in all studies.

    June 5, 2010 at 02:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NYGAL

      So making friends easily is more beneficial that keeping friends and nurturing the friends long-term?? Sorry, the facts are against you. Stop justifying your selfish lifestyle. While your child may make friends easily, he will have problems keeping friendships and trusting people in the future if he always has to worry about moving again and again and again. Those friends he makes easily are just acquaintances.

      January 17, 2011 at 08:47 | Report abuse |
  8. hrhlinda

    I was an Army brat that grew up in the late 50's and we moved at least once a year to different states. Always the new kid, I became introverted and couldn't make friends. Now an adult, I still don't know how to reach out to people, still somewhat introverted and always want to move to a new place. The art of making and keeping friends is one I never acquired. These traits of mine have been passed down to my child.

    June 5, 2010 at 02:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Leigh Ann

    We moved when my son was 5yrs old and when he was 11yrs old and again when he was 13yrs old and the only complaints he has about his childhood [he's 15 now] is the fact that we have moved too much,but the moves have made him more outgoing at school and he doesn't have difficulty making friends. Sometimes due to economics familys have to move.

    June 5, 2010 at 05:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Peggy

    I was an army brat growing up. I went to 7 schools in the first grade. The 4th, 7th, 8th, 11th, and 12th grades were the only years I went to the same school. I lived in many different states and cities growing up.

    I feel moving frequently as a child taught me to be adaptable. I have no difficulty making friends and I have friendships that have lasted for over 30 years despite my moving. Education wise, it did not hurt me. I tested out in the upper 10 percentile of the country of the GRE.

    June 5, 2010 at 07:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Spots

    Duh

    June 5, 2010 at 09:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. fuyuko

    It depends on the child. But I do think constant moving isn't really helpful for the child. It is better for a child to learn to live and relate to a group of people good and bad.

    June 5, 2010 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. giles slade

    Dear Liz Landau,

    Could you please provide the bibliographic citation for this article.

    It's not listed on the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology website where the most recent issue is May 2010.

    Is this piece from a new issue which is not yet listed on the site?

    Thanks.

    June 5, 2010 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. J P

    I was an army brat and moved a lot growing up. I can agree with what was found in this study.

    June 5, 2010 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. S. Jones

    I found this study to be true with my experience. From the 2nd grade to the 7th grade my family moved to seven different cities, 14 different neighborhoods, and nine different schools. Today I have few friends from my childhood. Be thankful that your parents didn't move as often as mine did.

    June 5, 2010 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Stephanie

    Another study conducted years ago looked at characteristics of executives. One common denominator was "adaptability" which was directly attributed to moving around a lot as a child. So you see, it depends on which perspective one analyzes the data..... I personally moved around a lot as a child and as a result, I am extremely adaptable and open minded......

    June 5, 2010 at 10:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. sim

    I am an Air Force brat, when when my father left the service, he went to work for IBM (I've Been Moved), so not a lot changed. I went to several elementary schools. In my case I became quite good at making friends, even though I lost them over and over again. I also became quite a reader, and eventually earned a PhD in British lit–I am now an English professor and I don't think this would be the case had my childhood been "normal."

    June 5, 2010 at 11:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. DWT

    Seems like a very sloppy study indeed. You'd need to control the information pool more carefully, and also increase attention to causes of moves.

    I'm a military brat and our family moved every three years like clockwork, learning to regret what we missed but to feel confident of what good things we'd find in the next place. There's got to be a difference between that routine and the unwelcome or unexpected kinds of moves brought on by many other factors.

    June 5, 2010 at 11:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Garrett

    Yes, Children of our Armed Service members move very often, the difference is they move within the same "neighborhood" community with continuity of culture. A blessing. As a wife of a military officer who has since transitioned to the corporate world, it is worth noting the difference. I agree with the positive outcome for those moving within the military community, it is very different for those of us transitioning our children as part of the corporate world. Especially girls moving after elementary school age. There are different challenges facing both sexes at different ages. I agree that the extroverted vs introverted child/teen will perceive their transition very differently in either group. Best of luck to all of us relocating our children! It's how we walk through the challenge with them that will ultimately shape their experience. From a mom of three daughters, ages 14 to 20 who have moved to "New Neighborhoods" from the south to the pacific to the north east and most recently the mid west; three different personalities and three different experiences.

    June 5, 2010 at 11:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Carol thomas

    Maybe we military brats were more fortunate in that we had the support of other military kids and learned from each other. Where we went to school they were accustomed to kids moving in and out and possibly more accepting. I think we are an accepting, open minded, and progressive bunch overall. Would not trade the experience of traveling around the world for anything.

    June 5, 2010 at 11:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Pat

    I disagree with the articla also. My Dad was a Diplomat and from 1951 to 1967 we lived all over the world, moving every 2 or 3 years. I do not thiank anyone in my family fits the descriptions you talk to in the article. It seems to me that this article is really aimed at those kids who lived in one place until thier teen years and then had to move. That would be a devestating experience. But for those of us who grew up with moving I truelly believe we are better for it.

    June 5, 2010 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Joe Nobody

    I am a living fact and can speak with it comes to this article. My parents moved alot when I was a child and found it hard to make new friends and get a good job. Now I am twenty eight and am proud to work at McDonalds Iove my job and to anyone who talks bad at least I have a job and graduated from highschool with a 4.0

    June 5, 2010 at 11:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. OMDUSA

    It seems as though the army brats that have posted in this thread are happy enough to disagree with this article. A lot if it is probably the fact that there are other army brats you can be friends with (i.e. you don't have to mix with the locals). The ones that agree with the article are those that probably had to mix with locals, and face the difference in cultures, language, as well as any xenophobia, and racism. This would make it hard to make friends regardless of your personality type. And if you are introverted, the problems get much much worse.

    June 5, 2010 at 12:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NYGAL

      Very good point, OMDUSA. But I did have a good friend in college that was constantly in counseling and crying because he didn't know how to get close to people and thought he'd be hurt if he did. He thought they'd leave him or move away, just like they did in childhood. He was an army brat. I do think that the dissatisfaction with moving is higher with others but it does exist alot with army brats too.

      January 17, 2011 at 08:50 | Report abuse |
  24. Renee

    I think army brats had it different then the rest of us who got bounced around from different family members and friends. Army brats had the constant companionship of their family while someone such as myself who moved about 40 times by the time I was 18 and 35 of those times were during my high school years.

    Don't get me wrong I loved it, being able to live all over, but as an adult moving around like that which I would still love is not really an option for forming a stable productive life. I still move more than any other person I know who isn't military, but I always feel like I'm searching for something and I'm getting to the age where I'm beginning to feel like I'll never find it, and that is dissatisfying.

    Even though I got tossed around a lot it wasn't a bad experience, I've gotten to do and see more than most adults twice my age. I'm good at reading people and I'm an excelent judge of character, but it also made me a little untrusting of others. I don't have a lot of friends more acquaintances than anything, but the friends I have I will have for life. And no matter what I wouldn't change that I moved like I did, even now a part of me still wishes I could move around like that.

    June 5, 2010 at 12:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Sam

    Moving all of my childhood, NOT due to military (or any other cause which means you 'know' you will be moving regularly) has definitely had a negative impact on my social development. Every time we moved, it was a shock and terror for me, a shy child who did not make friends easily, and was tortured and teased, or unaccepted in other ways in each school. Often I would encounter those who also moved like me. I never ever encountered a military brat who found the moving to be scary, negative or bad (which made me feel more alone). If the 'mover' I encountered was not a military brat, they were generally as upset as I, and it was this type of person I would generally make first-friends with, until they made their friends and moved on from me.

    What I found was that the current school society has no need for the new kid unless that new kid can somehow benefit their circle. If said new kid is good looking, good at sports, or has some other kind of talent or value to the other children, they are quickly 'snatched up'; first, by a lower level social circle willing to reach out to the new kid who might potentially elevate their 'status', (the popular circles are too busy/can't be bothered right away) and next by a higher level social circle as they discover the new kid may benefit their group's status (new kid will go with the higher level group at each turn; it's more desirable to any school child), and so on. I was 'beige'. There was absolutely nothing special about me, nor did I have any valuable talent. It would take at least a year to make friends, and sometimes after the year we moved again. If we stayed more than a year, the social circle which accepted me would usually go up a level. In general, however, I never had time to develop normal relationships, and never 'learned' how. They 'happened' to me; I never felt I had much choice in the matter. I had a wonderful loving family, with happily married parents, but that does not protect a child from school, nor in my opinion matter or help the situation. My childhood experience has made me completely insecure even in situations where I clearly excel... I just don't believe in myself... to this day. I just never felt safe from having the carpet ripped out from under me, and even though I am nearly 50 and live on my own, I still feel anything good I ever had can be taken away at any turn because I'm not supposed to have good things for a long time. (I am intelligent, educated, but somehow can't talk myself out of this deep-rooted belief set in place from childhood.)

    The good:
    I am independant... I don't 'need' to have someone to go do things with. I am adaptable, I don't get frustrated by change over and over again (such as at work.) I don't care if I get lost.... guess I've been that way all my life. I've experienced different cultures, I've traveled, and don't just know 'my little corner' of the world. I am extremely thoughtful and kind to those who are different, the underdogs, the unwanted, the lonely. I so know how it feels; I will not reject those people even if it makes my [so-called] friends reject me. I am alive; I survived it (the moving and everything that came along with it) and there's always this tiny hope inside of me that my turn will come and something nice will happen; success in a relationship and career. It's tiny, but it's there. 🙂

    June 5, 2010 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • M.

      I totaly agree with Sam. I would also like to add that introverted boys have the hardest. Girls like it or not after they are 12, the 15 years old boys will reach-out to them, but the boys, if they are extroverted they might get a better deal, but the ones that are not....Sure there is a good side to it as Sam pointed out that echos in my heart (introverted black male with parents on a social economic climbing trip – that is growing-up in white-land), about being adaptable and not so judgemental towards other people, but the social skills that we missed growing-up, I don't think will ever be replaced. The damage is so big that after a certain age, you start to run from friends or lovers because you have reached your 3-5 years top of maxim continuous contact with someone other than your family.
      It's hard, I can surely see why we commit more suicides, or if we don't, life just doesn't seen to taste that good.
      P.S.: If you add alchool/drugs/masturbation to the situation, watch-out, depression for sure (at least).

      August 9, 2012 at 21:34 | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      I'm glad I read your post. I also have a terrible fear that anything good I do happen to get will be taken away from me, and it always happens just at the point where I realize how much that thing/person really meant to me and started to trust. Then ripped away, beyond my control. I still have trouble believing I deserve any happiness in life. My romantic relationships have been no longer than two years, and thatbwas pushing it. I fall in love quickly, and then I lose. It's a pattern. It's not even the type of people I go for because they are different types, and why shouldn't one of them work out? This traumatic fear about losing everything is present always, and I live with this fear. I am afraid of being homeless, (we were homeless when Inwas a kid at times). The constant rejection at school was the hardest. People are so horrible. I never met anyone in life who was like me.

      September 8, 2016 at 06:35 | Report abuse |
  26. Tiffany

    re: Parents who claim their kids were unscathed by constant moving.

    Parents have *no right* to say 'I made my kids move a lot, but they loved it. We're a happy family' Did they really love it? Have you ever talked to them about it? Your experience as an adult who *chooses* to move the family is completely different from your child's experience.

    June 5, 2010 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Debbie Jones

    I have read all of the comments here and would like to add a couple of things from my initial comment.

    First of all my father was not in the military at the time of our moves, however; one of the places we did live was Dayton, OH in the late 60's early 70's. I am very familiar with Wright-Patterson A.F. Base and had many Air Force friends. What I am about to say, please don't take the wrong way but I had only wished my father was apart of the miilitary at that time because "it was a close knit community" and by all means not saying "clicky." So when you moved you went to other communities with that same background. I envied my friends "it was one big family."

    My father worked for a small HVAC company, some moves because of age difference amongst us siblings we would leave one behind because they went off to college. The very last move my parents made, my younger brother made with them alone.

    I don't have trouble making friends, keeping friends and have a great job but for "me" being uprooted all the time has shown in some aspects of my life to this day. I guess it all depends on "personality" and I am not ashamed to admit that I am one who felt an impact.

    To the "Army brats" and all of the Military I say "Thank you" and I admire all you do and have done to protect us.

    June 5, 2010 at 13:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Read the whole article

    In response to most of you who seem to have read only the headline, and not botherd reading the actual article I will recap what it said. Moving a lot makes introverted kids less happy with their lives. For those of you who read the article but don't understand big words like introvert and extrovert I'll break it down further. If your kid makes friends easily and is out going, congrats you have an extrovert. If your kid spends a lot of time alone or has trouble making friends you have an introvert. That means that if your kid(s) are outgoing, your opinion of the survey is irrelivent because this doesn't say anything bad about them or you as a parent for moving them. So everyone who's posting and all bent out of shape about the article calm yourselves. It doens't say that military brats are bad people or their parent's were neglegent or anything like that. I'd like to point out that they never mentioned whether they surveyd service member's kids at all.

    Also as the people who conducted the survey stated, there are several veriables to the survey that shoulde be hammered out before another test is conducted. They also acknowledged that more data was required to be conclusive, However, the fact that this is rough data that still needs to be refined doesn't diminish the need to analyze it, not with self righteous indignation, but with calm heads, and scientific minds.

    The reason I say all that is because I'm currently in the AF, and have a sone who's 1 year old. One of the main reasons I'm planning on getting out at the end of this enlistment is because I don't want to subject him to constant moves due to my carreer choices, and because I'd like to be around for most of his childhood. While it's still to early to know if he's and introvert or and extravert I would like to know what if any impact moving around a lot would/will have on him.

    On a side note, everyone out there who throws up military service as a patriotic shield to their opinino, stop. I'm serving my country like many of you, but it irritates the hell out of me that people do that. Contrary to your beliefs, your opinion is not more important because you served your country. When I enlisted there was no caveat that said "and from now on you are way more important that nonserving, civillians." so just stop acting like it gives you carte blanche to say, think, or act like an idiot, it's the declaratition of independence, and bill of rights that afford you that ability just as it affords it to everyone else.

    June 5, 2010 at 13:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. GTRrocker

    I moved a lot when I was a kid. I was shy in school and I think a lot of the problems I had as a teen an young adult in my early twenties stem from this fact. I kind of already knew this and the survey/study is no surprise to me.

    Saying that, I don't think I am really THAT unhappy today. I think I prefer a solitary lifestyle, but who knows. I had issues with anxiety too, but I am basically over that and am living a decent life. I work and make my money, then come home and do my hobbies. I sometimes date but prefer to do things alone or with my siblings. I am not a fan of going out with people my age. I don't drink or party so I cannot relate to their outlook on life. I think that is more of a maturity thing, though. Still interesting to think about.

    June 5, 2010 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Veronica

    I'm a T.C.K. (third culture kid) and I have moved countries 7 times. Although this investigation has room for improvement, I have to pretty much agree with it. An unstable environment might make someone more resilient or adaptable, but not necessarily happier. I dont really have childhood friends, which pretty much sucks. I know they are alive because of Facebook, but they are pretty inaccessible, what with being spread out throughout the world. I think if you move too much, there comes a point where you are tired of having to start allover again and also, after a certain age, people who dont move and have already settled down with their lifelong friends, aren't necessarily very open to new friendships. I have one real lets-go-shopping friend in university and apart from that, I'm just friends with my boyfriends friends, who are great, but I haven't had my very own group of friends in years. I mainly have acquaintances, which at 25 isn't ideal. My parents did the best they could with the sense they had, but unless you have the resources to allow your child to travel to visit the places he or she has left, its just really really painful. I'm glad I traveled, but maybe I wish I had traveled a little less and attended only international schools, which make adaptation a lot easier and create a sense of stability because everyone is in the same boat.

    June 5, 2010 at 14:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. LeiLani

    I can agree with this article , and here is why. Most of the people posting were the children of members of the military, diplomats, and the like. When you have a stable family life with a supportive community surrounding and adequate income, as these people did, it is easier to adapt to frequent changes including moves.

    My experience was with a working class alcoholic father who was continually uprooting us from one place just as soon as we got settled in to move us another place hundreds of miles away. Between the ages of 4 and 9 I was in 9 different schools–2 in kindergarten, i in first grade, 3 in second grade, 2 in third grade, and 1 in fourth grade when my mother refused to move anymore.

    At the time I thought it was fun to always be moving, but it had a definite impact on my education because often I would leave one school where they were finishing what I call "step 5" in reading or math, and I would arrive at another school where they would already be on "step 8", so I would miss the intervening steps and have a difficult time catching up. Eventually, I got caught up in reading, but I never quite made up for lost instruction in math.

    Moreover, in most of the schools I went to the kids had been there forever, so they were already in little cliques, which were hard to break into.

    Perhaps moving every two or three years is okay, but several times a year is not the best thing.

    June 5, 2010 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Agreement

    I didn't need a study to tell me what I'd already figured out. I'm an introvert who moved often as a kid. It broke my heart to leave friends behind all the time & with each move, I became more reticent to make friends. Why bother when I'd lose them anyway? I'm in my 40s now, am single with no children & move on average every 2 years.I'm resigned to the fact that I'll probably live this way for the rest of my life.

    June 5, 2010 at 14:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. lost child

    I relate to this study. I moved quite a lot during childhood and it did affect me in a negative way.
    I don't relate to army brats at all and never have. It is not the same situation. As an army brat you are surrounded with people in the same boat as you are. It is completely different.

    I do like who I am and would not be the independent successful person I am without my life having been what it was but when it came time for me to have a family I stayed in one location. My oldest son has just graduated high school and has had the same peers since age 5 when we bought our house. I can definitely see the positive social effects this has had on him and, in retrospect, how socially disconnected I became overtime. I do have to consciously work at having social connections because I had unknowingly learned in all of my formative years to disconnect. Don't get me wrong, though it may not come as naturally to me, I am happy and I have made a very fulfilled life for myself and wouldn't change a thing. My husband is my best friend and I am a proud mom but the study isn't wrong.

    June 5, 2010 at 14:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. toughenup

    I'd disagree with that. We moved a lot but maintain a very close family relationship and my kids have a lot of good friends and enjoy a very active lifestyle. I think if you're hearing it from psychologists you can automatically disregard it. They are always looking to drum up more business. According to them, we all have disorders and we all need therapy and/or psych meds to help us. They consider themselves more important than our families as they believe family is the root of all problems. Just say no!

    June 5, 2010 at 14:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Nisha

    That's great that your two-year old is happy and outgoing. However, the study seems to suggest that if a child's personality is introverted, that is where the discrepancy resides. If a child is outgoing, he/she can be a happy two-year old virtually anywhere.

    June 5, 2010 at 14:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Michele

    I totally agree. I went to 5 highschools in a period of 4 years. All together I went to 12 different schools in a 13 year period. It takes me awhile to get to know people & I don't have alot of close friends & i know it is partly due to always being the new kid. I have tried really hard not to do that to my children especially my 15 year old who is alot like me. Now he is flourishing & has a best friend that I hope will carry over into adulthood.

    June 5, 2010 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Jeff

    Context is the key. My mom was divorced 3 times while I grew up. We had moved nearly 20 times all over the state of California by the time I had graduated high school. While I'm reasonably well adjusted and can't point to any personal issues in my life from the experience, I can certainly see how the difficulties of moving in the middle of a school year could affect learning progress. Personally, I can say it didn't make things easier.

    June 5, 2010 at 14:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. T A

    There are introverted/extroverted kids/adults that are unhappy with their lives that HAVEN'T moved around at all. I think it is too specific – every combination of parent, child, and environment is SO different. Even within the same household! This study sounds like it was way too broad.

    The article absolutely caught my attention, though. We have a somewhat shy, not totally introverted, 3 year old that has lived in 3 countries on 3 continents (been to 19 countries) and an 8 month old who is soon going to live in his 2nd country (been to 7).

    I just want to do the best I can as a parent to teach, help, guide my children through each move, relationship, and their lives.

    June 5, 2010 at 15:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Marilyn Patton

    If you really want to do research in this area, then try talking to / following children of Military families, those whose parents are in the Army in particular. I say this as an adult 'Army Brat" who spent the first 19 years of her life moving from one duty station to the next. From Kindergarten to High School graduation (a total of 13 years) I attended 13 different schools – 4 in one year (6th grade). This left me devastated and finally involved me only having acquaintances and not friends. Sixth grade was the hardest as the nearest kids my age were too far away for me to play with them.
    School was the worst. Every time I had to change schools I had a new curriculum to deal with. This left me with a HUGE deficit in the written language category. (My sophomore year English was a repeat of my Freshman year English.) The classes I excelled in were the ones that were fairly consistent throughout the U.S.- Math, Reading, Spelling, Geography, History (my grades often did not reflect this as conflicts with teachers, homework dislike, etc determined my grade in any particular subject).
    Culture was another huge influence on me. I lived not only in a new neighborhood but also a new state. Twice it was a totally different country (Columbia, S.A. & Panama Canal Zone) where spoken language played a huge role in adjusting to the area.

    My experiences are mild compared to some others who moved in the middle of the school more than once.

    June 5, 2010 at 15:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Mike

    This study is spot-on. Moving around frequently is highly hazardous to a child's emotional well-being.

    As for some of you who are gushing about how easily you coped with frequent moves as a child, the study did say that extroverts have an easier time. And I would point out that the extroversion oozes from your posts.

    I was an introvert who suffered greatly because of the frequent uprootings of friendships I experienced. And I believe I am probably the norm rather than the exception.

    Mike
    Counselor in Kansas

    June 5, 2010 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Jude

    More studies into the effects of childhood moving is long overdue. Not only is the type of move (totally new neighborhood vs. a local nearby move) important but also Why? How often? During the school year or summer break? Distance from other relatives (especially grandparents)? Isolated moving or part of 'the pack'? I have known military kids and most benefited from the travel as moving was the norm for 'their pack'. But as a 'railroad brat' – moving was not supported by company other than covering the movers’ fee. My dad had the luxury of living his entire childhood in one town & now has retired back there with friends he has known for 80 years. My mom's family was forced to move constantly during her childhood (Great Depression) and suffered emotionally, socially, & educationally from it. When our dad's job meant moving to a new state in the middle of the school year – twice in 3 years- both my sister & myself suffered from changing school systems; missing subjects or having to repeat grades; losing friends; losing our place on sports team & in performing groups. We had to cope with different communities, different slang, grandparents & cousins now hundreds of miles away. And the constant “NEW” – new doctors & dentists, new church & pastors, new neighbors & neighborhoods, new weather & dangers. Other then my immediate family, I don’t have anyone close to me who has known me for more than a handful of year and it is really hard to feel safe enough to get close to someone. Moving as a kid SUCKS.

    June 5, 2010 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. mary craig

    my family moved over 40 times from my birth through highschool. unlike the military or moves due to job transfers our moves were due to the whims of my father who was never satisfied with his current circumstances. the needs of other family members were not a consideration. as a child i didnt understand why i had to leave friends, pets and belongings behind. although i was shy i did make friends over and over and over again...

    i do think the moves had a negative effect on me overall. to this day i have a sense of "not belonging" of always being "the new girl" even when i have been at the school or office much longer than others ,a perpetual "outsider" with definite insecurities.

    have difficulty unpacking and settling into my home even though i may have been living there for many years. also tend to "hoard" certain belongings.

    traveling without knowing where or when we would find a place to live was anxiety provoking as i wanted to do well in school as a young person. the moves were unplanned and i was never told until the last minute...we wandered from state to state, town to town...with limited resources.

    if my parents had been supportive my experience might have been more pleasant.

    June 5, 2010 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. wilyfem

    Having moved several times as a kid, the only "negative" I can see is that, as an adult, you become bored living in one place for too long.

    June 5, 2010 at 15:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Garrett

    I'm thankful I've hardly had too move and when I did, it was when I was like 16&17 basically and not too far either, damn bankers. The only thing the moves ever did was making me hate my banks and my country more. We care too much on the $$$ still, it is sad. Now, my issues are that I don't get out often 😛

    June 5, 2010 at 16:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. JS

    This article is interesting. As an Air Force brat I graduated from 12th grade having attended 11 different schools, including 3 first grades and 4 highschools, world wide. Establishing new relationships became increasingly difficult so that by the time I was grown I avoided close relationships completely. Even now, as an older person, I do not have close friends or feel attached to any one place as a "hometown". Even so, my life has be quite satisfactory. After a brief, unsuccessful marriage, I remarried and have been married for 36 years. I had an interesting and rewarding career, lots of social (though not intimate) relationships, and, overall, I am satisfied with how my life turned out.

    June 5, 2010 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Lori

    I agree with this study because I moved more than I would have liked when I was a kid and now at age 37, I am hesitant to make new friends for the fear that it just won't last. I hope to avoid moving a lot when I have a family of my own.

    That having been said, I do think it depends on the child and the family. Maybe with a strong family it is not as hard. And maybe if you are a military brat, you can find comfort and support in other military families and so the moving isn't as bad.

    June 5, 2010 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Christie

    Most of the comments seem to be coming from military kids. I know military kids move a lot, but they are all in the same boat, the same social issues were with every family that moved from base to base.
    SO there were some indentifying factors among peers.

    My family moved every 3 to 6 months on average. I went to 3 different 6th grades. I went to 5 high schools. Try to get involved in anything extra curricular when you are the new kid all the time.

    We lived in poorer parts of Los Angeles County CA..... I had no long lasting friendships because we always moved, and I was not allowed ot contact any previous friends made becuase, "you'll make new friends."

    I can truly see how that lifestyle can be detrimental. However, I didn't want that life for myself. So my husband and I broke the cycle. It was interesting as a newly married person that after 6 months I had an inkling to move for no reason. We didn't.
    We have had a couple of moves, but stayed within the same area, keeping the same friends. Our children have grown up with the same group of friends that they have kept through adulthood. I am so happy they have this.
    It is something I missed.

    BUT... I am a very happy person and don't often think about it.
    It is true you make due with what you have, but that doens't mean it was ok.

    June 5, 2010 at 16:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Rob Stumpf

    I love when people say, "well, this didn't happen to ME or MY family, therefore, I think it's not true!".

    Seriously? What if you didn't smoke, and somehow never get lung cancer? Does that prove smoking doesn't cause lung cancer? Of course not. Maybe you were the exception, and not the rule.

    June 5, 2010 at 17:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Abd al-Latif

    From "Frank": "Indicating a need for further research is usually an indicator that the present research somehow did not adequately analyze a phenomena or that it is an anecdotal interpretation of data."

    This is a typical layman's conception of how science works. Frank, there will ALWAYS be a need for further research! There are no "conclusive" studies, contrary to popular belief.

    June 5, 2010 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. jig101

    We are a military family and we have moved all over the world. MANY different cultures, lifestyles, and backgrounds. The biggest part of any successful move for kids and parents is planning and cooperation. Letting kids be a part of the process so that they have pride in ownership, lots of communications, and creative problem solving helps make it easier-not problem free-but easier. I don't know that as adults my children will say that they were thrilled with moving all the time, but it was the cost of getting to live in Europe, the Far East, and other great places. It also was the cost of their father providing an excellent living and an invaluable service. Often times-in most anything- attitude is what creates success.

    June 5, 2010 at 18:51 | Report abuse | Reply
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