Impact of Relocations on Mental Health and School Functioning of Adolescents from Canadian Military Families

April, 2020

This paper explores the impact of frequent military relocations on the adjustment of adolescents.


The study aim was to explore the impact of one aspect of military lifestyle, frequent relocations, on the adjustment of youth from Canadian military families. In all, 134 parents completed online questionnaires about their 13- to 18-year-old adolescents. Internalized and externalized problems, school functioning, and prosocial behaviors were assessed. Parental perceived stress levels were also measured. Analyses revealed that the mobility rate (i.e., the number of relocations/adolescent age) was not related to youth academic performance, greater suspensions/expulsions from school, or internalized problems. Conversely, mobility rate correlated positively with the presence of externalized problems and negatively with prosocial behaviors. Although these associations were not significant when relocation recency (measured by living in the same community for less than 12 months) was taken into account, they remained a trend, suggesting that adjustment issues were not completely resolved after the transition period. Relocation recency, rather than mobility rate, was a better predictor of adolescent adjustment. Furthermore, parental perceived stress was the variable most associated with adolescent internalized/externalized problems and prosocial behaviors. These results indicate that greater attention should be given to adolescent adjustment in the year following a relocation, because this is the period in which adolescents are at greater risk of developing difficulties. Additionally, the substantial influence of parental stress on youth well-being indicates the importance of services to help parents alleviate their own stress.

Full Reference

Perreault K, McDuff P, Dion J. Impact of Relocations on Mental Health and School Functioning of Adolescents from Canadian Military Families. Military Behavioral Health. 2020.

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