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Measuring House-Moving Stress

It May Be Worse Than Thought

Moving house is one of the most stressful events in a person’s life.

By John Salak –

It is almost an article of faith that moving house is one of the most stressful events in a person’s life, along with losing a job, getting married, getting divorced and watching the Mets play baseball.

University Hospitals and Verywellmind.com, in fact, both cite it as the third most stressful event, right behind the loss of a loved one and getting a divorce. 

“Whether it is for a new job, a change in relationship or downsizing, moving can be quite a stressful event. If the move is unexpected such as needing to leave your home because of a fire or financial struggles, it can be incredibly devastating,” VeryWellMind.com reported. 

Okay, it’s hard to argue that picking up and changing houses—whether the move is a few blocks or across the country—is going to be a hassle. But just how stressful is moving and why are some people more freaked out than others? 

Researchers at the University of Auckland Business School tried to find out by analyzing micro-data on people and households to assess the impact on mental well-being.  

No surprise here. The study’s results revealed that those who move are significantly more stressed out than people who tend to stay put. Homeowners are also more wound up than renters.

Perhaps more interesting is that the Auckland research team discovered that those dealing with chronic high-stress levels are more predisposed to move houses than others, which only accelerates their stress levels.

The study arrived at its conclusions by examining the stress levels of homeowners and renters against a control group of adults described as “non-movers.” 

One silver lining uncovered in the research is that stress levels for homeowners and renters who moved decreased over time if they stayed in one location.

“Our studies further suggest that frequent relocation and the housing tenure types, especially owner-occupier, is a substantial contributor to stress,” reported study co-author Dr. William Cheung. 

Given the impact frequent moving has on the mental well-being of the people involved, the research team suggested that housing policies may need to be developed that will aid in long-term tenures in homes. 

“We need economic programs that aid individuals at risk of losing their homes and, as well as providing stable housing, mental health services must be available, easily accessible among urban residents, and designed to remain amenable under transient circumstances,” Cheung advised.

Ultimately, the approach his team developed will help advance the general understanding of how different stressors impact people and what might be done to mitigate the level of anxiety. 

Unfortunately, no one has yet discovered how to deal with the stress of watching the Mets. 

 

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