Table 2 Preschool and school age health outcome studies—quality assessment
StudyQuality grades assigned by reviewers (NS/TJ)Confounders/variables analysedLimitations/strengthsFindings
Preschool health outcomes
Schluter et al,199819Sound/soundSE, maternal factors, infant factors and selection factorsL: selection bias; recall bias. S: confounders analysis; sufficient numbers to achieve conclusive resultsIncreased risk among infants sleeping “away” from home: Infants “away” vs at home: OR 1.70 (1.09 to 2.66)
Stoneman et al, 199920Suboptimal/adequateRace, sex, age, care-giver conflict, SEL: Small highly selective group; volunteer sample—self-selection bias. S: Incorporation of both parental and teacher reports, consideration of child temperamentIncreased sibling conflict, but not behaviour, depression or social isolation. With RM, low emotionality children experienced higher depression scores
Knudson-Cooper and Leuchtag, 198221Suboptimal/suboptimalNoneL: Selection bias. Confounders not analysed; no control group usedChildren admitted to this unit have more moves than expected for the whole US population
School age health outcomes
DeWit et al, 199822Sound/soundAge, sex, location, family structure and resources (SE), parental control, self-esteem, peer drug use, neighbourhood “climate”L: Respondent bias—based on self-report. S: Large dataset †with analysis of key confounders⩾3 Moves vs others: Indirect aggression, OR 1.26 (p,0.01) property offences OR 2.56, p<0.001; lifetime alcohol use OR 1.23, p<0.01; high attachment and lack of family conflict protective
Wood et al, 199323Sound/soundSE, sex, race, family structure, parental employment status, parental education, maternal age, locationL: Only parental report used, reporting bias; sample demographics and attrition details lacking. S: Large national sampleNo significant effect on development, growth, or learning disability rates seen. Frequent movers (>6 moves) more likely to have ⩾4 behavioural problems: OR 1.77 (1.37 to 2.29)
Simpson and Fowler, 199424Sound/SoundPoverty, age, sex, race/ethnicity, region, mother’s marital status and educationL: Recall bias. School change and reason for move not assessed. S: Large representative sample with due attention to known confoundersBehavioural problems (⩾3 moves vs less) OR 2.3 (1.7 to 3.1); need of professional psychological help: OR 2.2 (1.4 to 2.0)
Verropoulou et al, 200225Sound/adequateSE, parental education, family disruption, child’s age, sexL: Attrition to study—potential systematic bias with loss of mobile families. S: Longitudinal design in an intergenerational studyRM not independently associated with aggression or anxiety
Beyers et al, 200326Adequate/adequateSE, age, sex, ethnicity, family structureL: Small numbers from each neighbourhood limits precision; selective attrition and predominance of European middle-income families limits generalisability. S: Longitudinal. Analysis of key confoundersNeighbourhood structure not independently related to externalising behaviour problems or change rates. Parental monitoring—associated with lower externalising behaviours in mobile neighbourhoods
Kelley et al, 200327Suboptimal/suboptimalChild’s feelings about mother; maternal depressionL: Sample obtained by advertised invitation; self-selection bias. No adjustment for father’s rank in military. Highly selected sample, not generalisable. S: Use of validated measuresTime in residence (but not no of moves) related to outcomes, contributing to variance in loneliness (β coeff. = −0.31), peer relationships (β coeff. = −0.40) and self-worth (β coeff. = 0.23)
  • L:, limitations; OR, odds ratio followed by 95% confidence interval in brackets; RM, residential mobility; S:, strengths; SE, socioeconomic factors or measures.