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School mobility and developmental outcomes in young adulthood

  • Janette E. Herbers (a1), Arthur J. Reynolds (a1) and Chin-Chih Chen (a2)

School mobility has been shown to increase the risk of poor achievement, behavior problems, grade retention, and high school dropout. Using data over 25 years from the Chicago Longitudinal Study, we investigated the unique risk of school moves on a variety of young adult outcomes including educational attainment, occupational prestige, depression symptoms, and criminal arrests. We also investigated how the timing of school mobility, whether earlier or later in the academic career, may differentially predict these outcomes over and above associated risks. Results indicate that students who experience more school changes between kindergarten and 12th grade are less likely to complete high school on time, complete fewer years of school, attain lower levels of occupational prestige, experience more symptoms of depression, and are more likely to be arrested as adults. Furthermore, the number of school moves predicted outcomes above and beyond associated risks such as residential mobility and family poverty. When timing of school mobility was examined, results indicated more negative outcomes associated with moves later in the grade school career, particularly between 4th and 8th grades.

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Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Janette E. Herbers, University of Minnesota; E-mail:
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