Children whose families move around a lot may be at increased risk for psychological problems and substance use later in life, according to a new study.
In the study, children in Scotland who moved three or more times were more likely to have psychological distress, drinking heavily, smoking and use illegal drugs in adolescence and adulthood.
These effects may not be due to moving itself, but to factors that come with moving, according to the study. Many of the links observed in the study were due, in part, to changing schools, which may disrupt family life and social networks more than a move to a new house alone, the researchers said.
However, frequent moves were associated with an increased risk of drug use in adolescents and adulthood, regardless of how often they changed schools.
The findings are based on a study of 850 children who were followed for a 20-year period, from 1987 to 2007. Participants underwent a physical exam, which assessed their physical health by examining factors such as blood pressure and lung function, and also answered questions to assess their mental health and substance use.