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J Adolesc Health. 2014 Aug;55(2):276-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2014.01.009. Epub 2014 Mar 17.

The effect of geographic moves on mental healthcare utilization in children.

Author information

1
Naval Medical Center San Diego, San Diego, California. Electronic address: jhmilleg@yahoo.com.
2
Naval Medical Center San Diego, San Diego, California.
3
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Geographic moves have been reported to have a negative impact on the mental health of children, but it is often difficult to separate the effect of the move from the circumstances that impelled it. Military populations may offer a way to examine this issue. Moves are common in military families, but parental employment and healthcare coverage remain constant.

METHODS:

Children of military parents with geographic moves in 2008 were compared with those without geographic moves with regard to the odds of mental health service use in 2009.

RESULTS:

This study included 548,336 children aged 6-17 years, and 179,486 (25%) children moved in 2008. Children aged 6-11 years with a geographic move had higher odds of mental health and outpatient visits (odds ratio [OR] 1.03; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01-1.06). Children aged 12-17 years with a geographic move had higher odds of mental outpatient visits (OR 1.04; 95% CI 1.01-1.07), psychiatric hospitalizations (OR 1.19; 95% CI 1.07-1.32), and emergency psychiatric visits (OR 1.20; 95% CI 1.07-1.32).

CONCLUSION:

Children with a geographic move in the previous year have increased odds of mental health encounters. Among adolescents, this increase extends to psychiatric hospitalizations and emergency visits.

KEYWORDS:

Geographic moves; Mental health; Military

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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