Background Prior research identified associations between residential moves during adolescence and depression, but studies used small or nonrepresentative samples. The aim of this study was to examine the associations between residential moves and major depressive episode (MDE) in a large, nationally representative sample of adolescents in the USA. Methods This study analyzed data on 139 606 adolescents (12-17 years old) from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual cross-sectional survey from 2005 to 2012. We analyzed data on MDE prevalence within the past 12 months and residential moves within the past 5 years, using multivariable logistic regression models to control for observable covariates. Results Adolescents who moved at least once in the past 5 years had 35% higher odds of MDE than those who did not (odds ratio, 1.35; 95% confidence interval, 1.28-1.43), with odds of MDE increasing as the number of moves increased. Associations were particularly strong among younger and higher income adolescents. Conclusion Findings suggest that adolescents who move often may be a vulnerable group in need of mental health screening and services. Next steps in research include longitudinal studies with data on preexisting mental health issues and childhood adverse events.
- major depressive episode
- residential move
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health