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Risks from Frequent Childhood Moves Linked to Home Life

Mobility correlates with adverse childhood experiences

THURSDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- The health risks previously associated with frequent mobility in childhood may be due to the increased number of adverse experiences these children endure, according to a report in the December issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Maxia Dong, M.D., Ph.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study of 8,116 adults. Subjects had provided information about childhood mobility, health-related problems and adverse childhood experiences including child abuse, neglect and household dysfunction.

The risk of high residential mobility (eight or more household moves) for each adverse childhood experience was 1.7 to 3.1. Key indicators such as emotional, physical and sexual abuse, neglect, domestic violence and substance abuse are more likely to occur in mobile children. In addition, children who moved often were more likely to smoke or commit suicide in adulthood, but adjusting for adverse childhood experiences weakened the relationship.

"The apparent relationship between childhood mobility and various health risks is largely explained by adverse childhood experiences," the authors conclude. Educators and health care providers should be aware of this link and provide for appropriate counseling services, they add.

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