WASHINGTON Moving to a new town or even a new neighborhood is stressful at any age, but a new study shows that frequent relocations in childhood are related to poorer well-being in adulthood, especially among people who are more introverted or neurotic.
The researchers tested the relation between the number of childhood moves and well-being in a sample of 7,108 American adults who were followed for 10 years. The findings are reported in the June issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association.
"We know that children who move frequently are more likely to perform poorly in school and have more behavioral problems," said the study's lead author, Shigehiro Oishi, PhD, of the University of Virginia. "However, the long-term effects of moving on well-being in adulthood have been overlooked by researchers."
The study's participants, who were between the ages of 20 and 75, were contacted as part of a nationally representative random sample survey in 1994 and 1995 and were surveyed again 10 years later. They were asked how many times they had moved as children, as well as about their psychological well-being, personality type and social relationships.
The researchers found that the more times people moved as children, the more likely they were to report lower life satisfaction and psychological well-being at the time they were surveyed, even when controlling for age, gender and education level. The research also showed that those who moved frequently as children had fewer quality social relationships as adults.
The researchers also looked to see if different personality types extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism affected frequent movers' well-being. Among introverts, the more moves participants reported as children, the worse off they were as adults. This was in direct contrast to the findings among e
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American Psychological Association