Do Kids' Residential Moves Foster Dysfunction As Adults?

Coal

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This discussion has been spun off from the Toxoplasma thread.


Residential moves are by themselves associated with mental health issues; google scholar search using "childhood residential mobility" throws up a lot of papers, couple of them are below (full disclosure: a topic of interest to Coal).

Adverse Outcomes to Early Middle Age Linked With Childhood Residential Mobility​


https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749379716301180

I'd hazard a guess that head trauma and residential moves are way more culpable than cat owning.

Worth noting that mental health issues in later life are inextricably linked to physical heath outcomes.

"Don't move yer children about while they're growing up" seems to be a good idea.
 
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@Coal, do you know what SES stands for in that paper? They keep saying it as if it us extremely important but don't explain what it means (or not that I could see).
 
@Coal, do you know what SES stands for in that paper? They keep saying it as if it us extremely important but don't explain what it means (or not that I could see).
socioeconomic status (SES)

In APA formatted papers (and possible others), the first use of an acronym is generally signalled by putting it in brackets after 'the words'. It's real easy to miss that first use and more than once I've used the find/search to locate e.g. (SES) to find the first use myself. :)
 
so, what about nomads?
Excellent question! I would guess that since most nomads have a nomadic lifestyle with stable extended families, there is no emotional upheaval or trauma for the children associated with moving around. The study coal linked for us was done in Denmark, with a more settled population.
 
Excellent question! I would guess that since most nomads have a nomadic lifestyle with stable extended families, there is no emotional upheaval or trauma for the children associated with moving around. The study coal linked for us was done in Denmark, with a more settled population.
Yeah, bang on I'd say. It's not the 'moving' I think that's the issue, it's the constant changing of the entire social/family group that possibly causes problems. With nomads, the places change but the people all stay the same.

I'd speculate that there are also people who move all the time because they don't 'fit in' (so the inference is that they may have some kind of mental health issue so their children are genetically pre-disposed) and also those who move with jobs or careers (say armed forces personnel).

I'd be curious to see that teased apart as well.
 
Yeah, bang on I'd say. It's not the 'moving' I think that's the issue, it's the constant changing of the entire social/family group that possibly causes problems. With nomads, the places change but the people all stay the same.

I'd speculate that there are also people who move all the time because they don't 'fit in' (so the inference is that they may have some kind of mental health issue so their children are genetically pre-disposed) and also those who move with jobs or careers (say armed forces personnel).

I'd be curious to see that teased apart as well.

In the US, psychologists and physicians use a variety of questionnaires to determine if, and to what extent, certain factors existed in a person's childhood which are highly correlated with adult dysfunction. This dysfunction can be evidenced by physical, mental, and emotional problems.

1. ACE: Adverse Childhood Events and 2. chaos in early childhood are highly predictive. Chaos is an umbrella term for several different situations - moving a lot, different child raisers, uncertainty, etc. - which give the child a underlying assumption that the world is not stable and untrustworthy. This worldview is often not recognized by the person, yet it is an assumption which can shape lifelong decisions and actions.

We are now drifting away from toxoplasmosis, so perhaps the mods can move to a better thread.
 
1. ACE: Adverse Childhood Events and 2. chaos in early childhood are highly predictive. Chaos is an umbrella term for several different situations - moving a lot, different child raisers, uncertainty, etc. - which give the child a underlying assumption that the world is not stable and untrustworthy. This worldview is often not recognized by the person, yet it is an assumption which can shape lifelong decisions and actions.
I recall this. The link between such events and mental health issues iirc was so large it was one of the biggest real world correlations ever seen in sociological data. I made some notes on this when I heard it discussed on the wireless.

I'd speculate that 'chaos' even as an umbrella term, would tend to make children very threat sensitive (or to put it another way) less emotionally stable.

PS: Just found my notes on the 2016 bbc podcast, I'll put some stats up later. They're sobering reading.
 
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As an American "baby boomer" growing up in the Fifties / Sixties in a generally agrarian / small town region my childhood social milieu reflected the pivotal postwar era during which geographical mobility became a common feature of family life. My elementary school social circles were constantly mutating because a substantial proportion of my classmates (at that particular school) came from families moving into and out of the hometown area in relation to parents' employment at large local businesses (especially the two thriving missile plants). This turnover was highest in my own elementary school because its service area encompassed the area in which extensive housing developments sprang up to accommodate workers at those two factories.

Among us "native" children whose families had been in the same neighborhood(s) for generations there was little history of movements into / exiting that particular area.

During the elementary school period I noticed that the "non-native" kids who came and went in conjunction with family employment changes tended to be outgoing, gregarious, and quick to make friends. They readily participated in school and extracurricular activities. In general, the most transient ones seemed to have learned how to fit in and initiate social relationships upon arrival.

I can't say the most mal-adapted kids during my elementary school era correlated with the transient non-natives. The thugs, princesses, pathologically withdrawn, etc., were typically long-term and native as I recall.
 
During my (first) college and early professional periods I ran into 3 specimens of young adults who were known to have grown up with continual residential moves and who were notably atypical / "twisted" in their behavior and attitudes.

All three were classic "army brats" whose childhoods had been spent in the households of career military parents who moved among duty locations on a regular basis. There was one male and two females. For the record, my connections with the two females were entirely platonic (friends; colleagues).

The male was a loud and aggressive jerk in any social setting. He had two modes of interaction - trying to one-up everyone around him or proactively tearing down everyone around him, all while dominating or repeatedly disrupting whatever general conversation was in progress. He pretty obviously had a chip on his shoulder, and most folks who encountered him ended up giving him a wide berth thereafter.

Both females were reserved, detached, notably "cold", and very dogmatic in dismissing anything they didn't agree with. Both were considered "creepy" by other peers. At one time or another both denied the importance - and in one case the very existence - of the notions of emotional attachments generally and "love" specifically. The one who'd denied "love" entirely eventually sought my advice on a couple of relationships in which she was involved before we lost touch with each other. In both cases her orientation to the relationship was surprisingly juvenile and centered on petty revenge and manipulations toward the other. She seemed incapable of describing the situation with any reference to her own feelings, and she never gave any indication she could address the relationships as anything other than a combative ego contest.

This is, of course, an entirely anecdotal survey based on a tiny sample. All I can say is that 100% of the full-childhood "army brats" I've ever encountered were maladapted as young adults.
 
Dr. Vincent Felitti carried out the orignal ACE study. It had some 17,500 predominantly middle class participants, monitored over 30 years.

ACEs are:

(I’ve put a spoiler here in case anyone would rather not read the instances or the outcomes, it's not pleasant reading)


Childhood Sexual Abuse
Physical abuse
Emotion abuse (i.e. recurrent humiliation)
Neglect, Physical
Neglect Emotional
Family Mental Illness
Abused Mother
Family Substance Abuse
Incarcerated relative
Divorce

67% of participants suffered at least one of these. The ACE score is calculated using each type as one instance. 1 Point per instance.

If ACE >= 6

4,600% increase in intravenous drug use (compared with a score of 0)
3,100-5,000% increase in suicide attempts (compared with a score of 0)
20 years shorter life expectancy (compared with a score of 0)


A UK study was also carried out, some 6,000 subjects, broadly speaking similar results. I've got three pages of notes on this and the follow up, but that's all I'll put up for the mo.
 
This is, of course, an entirely anecdotal survey based on a tiny sample. All I can say is that 100% of the full-childhood "army brats" I've ever encountered were maladapted as young adults.
Quite.
 
As an American "baby boomer" growing up in the Fifties / Sixties in a generally agrarian / small town region my childhood social milieu reflected the pivotal postwar era during which geographical mobility became a common feature of family life. My elementary school social circles were constantly mutating because a substantial proportion of my classmates (at that particular school) came from families moving into and out of the hometown area in relation to parents' employment at large local businesses (especially the two thriving missile plants). This turnover was highest in my own elementary school because its service area encompassed the area in which extensive housing developments sprang up to accommodate workers at those two factories.

Among us "native" children whose families had been in the same neighborhood(s) for generations there was little history of movements into / exiting that particular area.

During the elementary school period I noticed that the "non-native" kids who came and went in conjunction with family employment changes tended to be outgoing, gregarious, and quick to make friends. They readily participated in school and extracurricular activities. In general, the most transient ones seemed to have learned how to fit in and initiate social relationships upon arrival.

I can't say the most mal-adapted kids during my elementary school era correlated with the transient non-natives. The thugs, princesses, pathologically withdrawn, etc., were typically long-term and native as I recall.
You bring up good points - as always :) I have over the decades thought a lot about the intersection of healthy and unhealthy in different family groups, and what tips the scales one way or the other.

The definition of chaos in early home environments - the family structure - has different characteristics than the non-native kids you describe who had, I assume, an intact family where a parent actually was regularly employed. Army brats and non-native kids have a different level of enduring family structure and reasonable expectations. The devil is always in the details.

Children of chaos have multiple homes, multiple caregivers, no regular, healthy continuity with parents, sudden drastic and unexpected changes in circumstances (like being awakened in the middle of the night and told to run out of the house or you will be killed), and similar experiences. The chaos factors have much overlap with the ACE factors, but after filtering out the ACE stuff, any remaining chaos seems to add another quantifiable contributing factor to the lifelong misery.
 
Dr. Vincent Felitti carried out the orignal ACE study. It had some 17,500 predominantly middle class participants, monitored over 30 years.

ACEs are:

(I’ve put a spoiler here in case anyone would rather not read the instances or the outcomes, it's not pleasant reading)


Childhood Sexual Abuse
Physical abuse
Emotion abuse (i.e. recurrent humiliation)
Neglect, Physical
Neglect Emotional
Family Mental Illness
Abused Mother
Family Substance Abuse
Incarcerated relative
Divorce

67% of participants suffered at least one of these. The ACE score is calculated using each type as one instance. 1 Point per instance.

If ACE >= 6

4,600% increase in intravenous drug use (compared with a score of 0)
3,100-5,000% increase in suicide attempts (compared with a score of 0)
20 years shorter life expectancy (compared with a score of 0)


A UK study was also carried out, some 6,000 subjects, broadly speaking similar results. I've got three pages of notes on this and the follow up, but that's all I'll put up for the mo.

What I find revelatory about the various ACE studies is the genesis of the investigations was noting similarities of problems - physical, emotional, or mental - in many adult patients, and then working backward to discover the astonishing connection with the same, very limited, number of ACE categories. This is public health science at its best.

The groundbreaking ACE study was designed and implemented by an American health provider and insurance company (one of the largest and oldest HMOs) - Kaiser Permanente - as a way of better treating the adults at lower costs. An instance in which capitalist greed works to benefit society :)

Here is an easy read about the study: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/aces/about.html
If one wishes to investigate more, the internet has many, detailed resources presenting compelling evidence. However, a deep dive into this misery can be disturbing. Seriously, be warned.
 
I'd speculate that there are also people who move all the time because they don't 'fit in' (so the inference is that they may have some kind of mental health issue so their children are genetically pre-disposed) and also those who move with jobs or careers (say armed forces personnel).
I don't think it is even genetic predisposition but directly as a result of being brought up by parents who are like that. A wee while ago I stumbled on a video on Youtube about something called Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is related to, but not exactly like the PTSD that is more typically associated with war veterans and so on. I have been wanting to make a post about it but it seems like a huge subject and I haven't been able to articulate it. But trying to put it in a nutshell, it can occur not just due to physical or sexual abuse by parents but also by cold, distant and/or neglectful parents.

https://crappychildhoodfairy.com/do-you-have-actual-ptsd/

When you’re a baby or small child, trauma is particularly toxic for your brain, and causes developmental changes. Believe it or not, being neglected can be even worse for your brain than being abused. For healthy brain development, a child needs the parent to be connected with them, to make eye contact and talk to them, to respond to their feelings and their accomplishments. If parents are dead, gone, drunk, high, obsessed with a boyfriend, depressed or otherwise not paying attention to the child, the child may learn to dissociate (it kind of means “to check out”), or grow frequently “dysregulated” in terms of brain, nervous system or emotions; and may grow up with a limited capacity to connect with people, pay attention or learn. These brain changes also have consequences for physical health. A traumatized child may have headaches and stomach troubles, but as she grows to adulthood, even more serious problems can show up. It’s not well understood yet how or why, but the health, emotional and cognitive problems associated with Childhood PTSD are all related to nervous system dysregulation.
 
I don't think it is even genetic predisposition but directly as a result of being brought up by parents who are like that. A wee while ago I stumbled on a video on Youtube about something called Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is related to, but not exactly like the PTSD that is more typically associated with war veterans and so on. I have been wanting to make a post about it but it seems like a huge subject and I haven't been able to articulate it. But trying to put it in a nutshell, it can occur not just due to physical or sexual abuse by parents but also by cold, distant and/or neglectful parents.

https://crappychildhoodfairy.com/do-you-have-actual-ptsd/
!!! I can't believe you posted about the crappychildhoodfairy. She is one of the better youtubers discussing this.

I agree that it is a huge topic and difficult to define. It bleeds into other, related topics. Also, psychological ills are in their infancy of identification, categorization, causes, and treatment compared to mere physical ills. I suspect many people - and I have run into a few - still believe that these problems can be fixed through positive mental attitude, prayer, harder work, growing up and not babying oneself, etc. Structural changes in the amygdala are difficult to deal with, and all the prayer in the world, etc., will not change it.

In my previous working life, as a supervisor of employees, I learned to be attuned to this CPTSD possibility with people who were very reactive, went on alcoholic benders, or were just difficult to deal with.
 
!!! I can't believe you posted about the crappychildhoodfairy. She is one of the better youtubers discussing this.

I agree that it is a huge topic and difficult to define. It bleeds into other, related topics. Also, psychological ills are in their infancy of identification, categorization, causes, and treatment compared to mere physical ills. I suspect many people - and I have run into a few - still believe that these problems can be fixed through positive mental attitude, prayer, harder work, growing up and not babying oneself, etc. Structural changes in the amygdala are difficult to deal with, and all the prayer in the world, etc., will not change it.

In my previous working life, as a supervisor of employees, I learned to be attuned to this CPTSD possibility with people who were very reactive, went on alcoholic benders, or were just difficult to deal with.
Generally considered that the type of thing we're talking about here is caused by either damage or under-development of PreFrontal Cortex where a lot of decision making and impulse control is. Iirc, this is rooted in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), which specifically is involved in a negative feedback loop damping amygdala responses. So the amygdala wants to do violence and the vmPFC goes ‘Woah dude, they only walked a bit close to you’ type of thing.

I recall a study from some years back finding the 'mechanical' damage to the vmPFC was common in 'red mist' violence, when even the perpetrator was not quite sure what happened. This damage can occur in quite young children as a result of being hit or having their head banged on something solid.

Under development (caused by say emotional abuse as discussed above) appears to have the same effect, so all sort of impulse controls might be lost, resistance to drug use, emotional control, you name it.

I'd personally be surprised if actual brain damage or underdevelopment can ever be fixed, in any meaningful way.
 
Generally considered that the type of thing we're talking about here is caused by either damage or under-development of PreFrontal Cortex where a lot of decision making and impulse control is. Iirc, this is rooted in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), which specifically is involved in a negative feedback loop damping amygdala responses. So the amygdala wants to do violence and the vmPFC goes ‘Woah dude, they only walked a bit close to you’ type of thing.

I recall a study from some years back finding the 'mechanical' damage to the vmPFC was common in 'red mist' violence, when even the perpetrator was not quite sure what happened. This damage can occur in quite young children as a result of being hit or having their head banged on something solid.

Under development (caused by say emotional abuse as discussed above) appears to have the same effect, so all sort of impulse controls might be lost, resistance to drug use, emotional control, you name it.

I'd personally be surprised if actual brain damage or underdevelopment can ever be fixed, in any meaningful way.
Thanks for bringing these points up. Yes, I have read the same about the PFC area responsible for executive control. The amygdalic structural change is also real; and the distortions of the PFC and the amygdala seem to be frequently found together. When I was trying to educate myself about this stuff, I studied various brain scans, and the differences in the amygdala between a psychologically heathy person and an ACE survivor was clear.

Fix vs accommodate:
....A dear life-long friend had severe forehead damage when he was 10 years old. Physical depression of the forehead and front hair line, and in a coma for 3 months. He also came from an extremely abusive childhood (8 out of 10 ACE). He had lifelong impulse control problems, angered easily, and self-medicated with alcohol. Only now, that he is in his 60's, has he stopped drinking and started dealing with stuff. He is compassionate, supportive of others, and a decent human being, when he is not overstressed. I like to think that this is his "true" self, and not the boozing nasty guy. He is not fixed, but has learned how to live with it in a reasonable way. This is an immense effort for him.

He knows his limits in getting involved in discussions which will likely anger him, and he leaves before that point. He spends a lot of time by himself, and can maintain emotional regulation with others when his contact is limited.

I remember him in his 20's going berserker, and it was astonishing. The physical strength of a healthy man flooded with adrenalin and enraged is just, well, astonishing.
 
Thanks for bringing these points up. Yes, I have read the same about the PFC area responsible for executive control. The amygdalic structural change is also real; and the distortions of the PFC and the amygdala seem to be frequently found together. When I was trying to educate myself about this stuff, I studied various brain scans, and the differences in the amygdala between a psychologically heathy person and an ACE survivor was clear.

Fix vs accommodate:
....A dear life-long friend had severe forehead damage when he was 10 years old. Physical depression of the forehead and front hair line, and in a coma for 3 months. He also came from an extremely abusive childhood (8 out of 10 ACE). He had lifelong impulse control problems, angered easily, and self-medicated with alcohol. Only now, that he is in his 60's, has he stopped drinking and started dealing with stuff. He is compassionate, supportive of others, and a decent human being, when he is not overstressed. I like to think that this is his "true" self, and not the boozing nasty guy. He is not fixed, but has learned how to live with it in a reasonable way. This is an immense effort for him.

He knows his limits in getting involved in discussions which will likely anger him, and he leaves before that point. He spends a lot of time by himself, and can maintain emotional regulation with others when his contact is limited.

I remember him in his 20's going berserker, and it was astonishing. The physical strength of a healthy man flooded with adrenalin and enraged is just, well, astonishing.
He has done amazingly well, I cannot imagine how hard that has been for him. :hoff:
 
!!! I can't believe you posted about the crappychildhoodfairy. She is one of the better youtubers discussing this.

I agree that it is a huge topic and difficult to define. It bleeds into other, related topics. Also, psychological ills are in their infancy of identification, categorization, causes, and treatment compared to mere physical ills. I suspect many people - and I have run into a few - still believe that these problems can be fixed through positive mental attitude, prayer, harder work, growing up and not babying oneself, etc. Structural changes in the amygdala are difficult to deal with, and all the prayer in the world, etc., will not change it.

In my previous working life, as a supervisor of employees, I learned to be attuned to this CPTSD possibility with people who were very reactive, went on alcoholic benders, or were just difficult to deal with.

I believe a person very close to me has CTPSD - their behaviour and background are a startlingly close match.

Suffice to say that every day can be very challenging for the people around them. Having said that, it seems very much to be triggered by certain situations - in others (including professionally) they are a very capable, compassionate person. This gives me hope that even the long-term structural changes can be to some degree healed - the brain is very adaptable.
 
Speaking as one who grew up in a single residence but spent extended periods in hospital which in turn resulted in a number of changes of school, I'd agree with the comments at the beginning that it's not the house move that's the issue, but the enforced change of social contacts that go with it.

When the people you are in daily contact with and have made friends with can be changed almost totally without any control by yourself, you stop investing in other people except in the rare cases where the bond is extremely strong.
 
This discussion has been spun off from the Toxoplasma thread.


Residential moves are by themselves associated with mental health issues; google scholar search using "childhood residential mobility" throws up a lot of papers, couple of them are below (full disclosure: a topic of interest to Coal).




I'd hazard a guess that head trauma and residential moves are way more culpable than cat owning.

Worth noting that mental health issues in later life are inextricably linked to physical heath outcomes.

"Don't move yer children about while they're growing up" seems to be a good idea.
I wonder.

My eldest endured a number of moves, including one to a different continent and back again. He does struggle with depression, as an adult. By way of contrast, my youngest came to this house when a day old and will have been here 20 years next month. And he is very stable, in every way. Could just be coincidence and no correlation there.

I lived in one house from coming home from hospital, to the day I left for uni. But... when I was 10 my mum died and dad remarried and he chose to make his new life in what had been our house, so we never moved, but a place that had once been a deeply happy home because a house of horror because abusive stepmother. My stepsister calls that house, "the house of horrors" by the way, but my memories of it are far more complex because it is a bit like Fred West's house, in my head, but also the last place I saw my mum (and grandfather who would have pulled out the stops to prevent my dad marrying my stepmother as he had known her years before). A place all my identity was located, my whole (happy, til mum died) childhood.

So for me, the lack of move in itself was problematic as it overlaid my whole happy childhood world with this new, nightmarish one. And my stepsisters could never see our house as home, because they were also unhappy there and to this day (understandably) can't see it as a happy place because of what happened to us, there.
 
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