For children, a stable home life is very important. This means having a normal childhood and growing up in familiar territory. Some families, however, may have to uproot themselves to move to other countries during this developmental period. Whether it’s because of a new job or a divorce or annulment case, children, for the most part, go where their parents go. Unfortunately, the experience can have a negative effect on their psyche. According to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, migration at an early age increases the possibility of personality disorders in children.
Conducted in Netherlands, the research pinpointed that those who had had to migrate at the age of five or younger were twice as much at risk compared to those at ages 10 to 14. To find concrete evidence, researchers sought out residents of The Hague aged 15 to 54 who had seen a doctor over a seven-year period from 1997 to 2005 in relation to psychotic disorders. After a thorough analysis, the results showed that 273 immigrants, 119 second-generation citizens, and 226 Dutch residents did have one form of psychotic disorder or another.
"Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that early life is an important risk period for psychotic disorders. They join the growing body of literature suggesting that adverse social experiences in early life, such as childhood trauma or parental separation raise the risks," says senior author Ezra Susser, MD, DrPH.
Results also showed that non-Western immigrants were among the most affected by the change in environment, implying that being in a minority could add stress to fitting in with everyone else.
Are you thinking of relocating abroad? Here are some articles to help you out:
(Photo by ImaginaryGirl via Flickr Creative Commons)