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The effects of house moves during early childhood on child mental health at age 9 years

Rumbold, Alice R., Giles, Lynne C., Whitrow, Melissa J., Steele, Emily J., Davies, Christopher E., Davies, Michael J. and Moore, Vivienne M. (2012). The effects of house moves during early childhood on child mental health at age 9 years. BMC Public Health,12(583):1-11.

Document type: Journal Article
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NHMRC Grant No. 465437
Title The effects of house moves during early childhood on child mental health at age 9 years
Author Rumbold, Alice R.
Giles, Lynne C.
Whitrow, Melissa J.
Steele, Emily J.
Davies, Christopher E.
Davies, Michael J.
Moore, Vivienne M.
Journal Name BMC Public Health
Publication Date 2012
Volume Number 12
Issue Number 583
ISSN 1471-2458   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-84864411244
Start Page 1
End Page 11
Total Pages 11
Place of Publication United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central Ltd.
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract Background
Residential mobility is common in families with young children; however, its impact on the social development of children is unclear. We examined associations between the number, timing and type of house moves in childhood and child behaviour problems using data from an ongoing longitudinal study.

Complete data on residential mobility and child behaviour was available for 403 families. Three aspects of mobility were considered: (a) number of house moves from birth to <2 years, 2 to <5 years and 5 to 9 years; (b) lifetime number of house moves; and (c) moves associated with different housing trajectories characterized by changes in housing tenure. The primary outcomes were internalizing and externalizing behaviour problems at 9 years derived from Achenbach’s Child Behaviour Checklist. Linear regression analyses were used to investigate the effect of the housing variables on internalizing and externalizing behaviour problem scores with adjustment for a range of sociodemographic and household covariates.

Moving house ≥2 times before 2 years of age was associated with an increased internalizing behaviour score at age 9 years. This association remained after adjustment for sociodemographic and household factors. There was no association between increased residential mobility in other time periods and internalizing behaviour, or mobility in any period and externalizing behaviour. There was no effect of lifetime number of moves, or of an upwardly or downwardly mobile housing trajectory. However, a housing trajectory characterized by continuous rental occupancy was associated with an increased externalizing behaviour score.

These findings may suggest that there is a sensitive period, in the first few years of life, in which exposure to increased residential mobility has a detrimental effect on mental health in later childhood.
Keywords Residential mobility
Child behaviour
Child development
Longitudinal studies
DOI   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)

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