- Children who frequently switch schools are more likely to develop psychotic symptoms as preteens, according to a British study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
- The study, which looked at 6,500 families, found that students who attended three or more schools as children were 60% more likely to experience at least one psychotic symptom when they were 12 years old.
- The study did not find a causal relationship between school changes and psychotic symptoms, but rather the researchers said moving can lower self-esteem, which can lead to social isolation and, in turn, affect brain chemistry.
According to the study’s leader, Swaran Singh, it’s not just changing schools that may increase the risk of psychotic symptoms — being bullied, which can be a consequence of frequent school moves, can also harm mental health.
The study recommends schools develop strategies to help students integrate into schools and establish themselves within the new environment.
The study’s researchers are not alone in making this a priority. When speaking in Hawaii a few weeks ago, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stressed the need to level the playing field for military families, whose children are constantly changing schools.