Psychological Effects of Moving Frequently

Plenty of studies have shown that moving frequently in childhood often has a negative effect on the child’s later life. According to one study, the more people moved as children, the less satisfied they were with their lives at the time of the survey. They also reported a lower psychological well-being feeling, regardless of their age, gender, or education level.
What to Do When You’re Stressed Out About Moving By Chelsea Dinen

However, what are the psychological effects of moving frequently in adulthood? Is it equally unadvisable for adults, or are the effects milder? Let’s dive in.

The Psychology of Moving

According to research, frequently moving during early adolescence can lead to negative health outcomes in later life. However, moving generally has an effect on everyone, regardless of age or other circumstances. No matter how often it happens, it is a time of intense emotions and a lot of stress. So, what are some of the main effects moving often can have on your mental health?

Also Read: Anxiety About Moving To Another State

The stress

Relocation is a life change riddled with different stressful events. Firstly, you have to go through the time-consuming process of finding appropriate housing as well as a job if you’re moving far. This can often feel like the biggest issue of your relocation. However, the real stuff comes after. 

Now that you have a new place, you have to pack up your whole life and find reliable help to transport you to your new home. If you are moving with kids and pets, the stress can increase, as you will have to look out for how they’re handling the move. Being a parent reading about how frequent moving can affect your child negatively only adds fear and panic.

Luckily, if you are moving with your family, there are some ways to reduce the stress. For the most part, your kids are more likely to handle the relocation better if you put a positive spin on it. If they are happy and excited about it, you’ll be able to partake in those feelings as well. Include them in the move from the get-go.

Have them by your side when you’re looking at new homes, point out fun things around the new neighborhood, and have them involved in the packing process as much as you can. Hiring movers is also a great way to let you focus on your kids during this time.

Even if you are moving on your own, research says that a move can be as stressful for adults as divorce. Starting over can feel exciting and fun, but it also comes with a lot of psychosocial stress. Being far away from your friends and family is not easy. Furthermore, making new connections in adulthood is much more difficult than at some earlier times of your life.

The silver lining

There is a benefit to moving frequently – the stress will ease up the more you do it. You’ll get more practiced at finding good real estate as well as packing and other parts of the organization. Some people get so good at it that they feel the compulsion for it even when there is no particular reason.

This is particularly true of those who moved a lot as kids. However, it can also become a tactic for dealing with internal turmoil. They find it easier to change their immediate surroundings instead of working on their insides.

Attachment issues

One of the psychological effects of moving frequently can be difficulty in forming strong attachments. People who move around a lot are less likely to get attached to physical possessions. This is mostly a good thing.

They are aware that everything is transient and can live their lives unencumbered by material things. However, it can be troubling to others when this detached behavior extends to relationships with people as well.


According to research, moving frequently causes people to have stronger memories than people who move less often. Periods of transition, like moving, make everything that happens during them more memorable.

The reason for this could be that the backdrop for those events is different from people’s routine, so the memories are more likely to stick. It is much easier to remember something if you have a clear point of reference.


Another positive effect of moving often is developing the ability to grow where you are planted. It is not always a given, but if you move a lot in adulthood, you are more likely to make the most out of your situation.

Even if you don’t form lifelong attachments easily, battling social anxiety is not something you have trouble with. You are skilled at making friends quickly and thriving in whatever circumstances you find yourself in.

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Most Common FAQs About Moving

Can moving change your personality?

If you’ve had to move frequently as a child, the chances are that it could have had an impact on your personality. It is highly individual, but one of the ways moving could influence your personality is to make you more shy or more personable, depending on your learnings and experiences. As mentioned above, it can also make you a bit more aloof and not easily attached to material possessions. Frequent moving shapes us as much as any other transition in life, with many people citing it as life-changing as a divorce.

How does moving a lot affect a child?

Why is moving so stressful?

Can moving cause trauma?

How do I stay calm during a move?

What is the first thing to do when moving into a new house?

What should you not pack when moving?

What will movers not take?


The psychological effects of moving frequently should not be disregarded. This is particularly true when it comes to parents of children in early adolescence. However, no matter how stressful it can get, it is possible to turn moving into a positive experience. You get to start fresh, have exciting new experiences, and meet fun new people while making lasting memories.