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Frequent Moving Linked to Suicide Risk in Adolescence

Relationship between moving, attempted suicide appears to be dose-response in adolescents

WEDNESDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- Changing residences frequently is associated with risk of suicidal behavior in adolescents, according to research published in the June issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Ping Qin, M.D., of the University of Aarhus in Denmark, and colleagues analyzed data from Danish population registries on 4,160 children between the ages of 11 and 17 years who attempted suicide between 1995 and 2006, and 79 who died of suicide. The researchers matched 30 controls to each case. Danish citizens typically report changes in their residence within five days.

The researchers found 55.2 percent of suicide-attempting children had moved more than three times compared to 32 percent of controls, contributing to a significantly higher risk. The researchers observed an apparent dose-response relationship between the frequency of moves and risk of attempted suicide. A similar association was seen between residence changes and suicide in children who killed themselves.

"The findings from this study suggest the importance of stability on children's psychosocial well-being. They also raise a few critical questions for parents who move frequently, such as whether they have to move and, if so, how to minimize the adverse influence on adolescent children. While considering moving, it is important to consider children and their interests. It is always good to involve children, as much as possible, in the process of moving, motivating their participation in all decisions, plans, and practical work," the authors conclude.

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