Residential Mobility and Adolescent Achievement and Behavior: Understanding Timing and Extent of Mobility

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Abstract

Residential mobility is generally viewed as an adverse event for adolescents' development. Less is known about whether moving during adolescence, childhood, or both periods explains this connection and whether the extent of mobility matters. Analytic shortcomings with much of the research call into question extant findings. We examined associations between childhood, adolescent, and child–adolescent mobility and adolescents' achievement (math and reading) and behavior problems (internalizing and externalizing). With a multisite, longitudinal sample (N = 1,056), we employed propensity score methods, which mitigate concerns about selection bias on observed variables, to investigate relationships. Results suggest that multiple, child–adolescent movers had more internalizing problems in adolescence than their stable peers, but did not differ on externalizing problems or achievement.

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