Moving on: How depressive symptoms, social support, and health behaviors predict residential mobility

Scand J Public Health. 2016 Jun;44(4):394-401. doi: 10.1177/1403494815622850. Epub 2015 Dec 18.


Background: There are major health inequalities between residential areas. However, it remains unclear whether these inequalities are due to social causation or selective residential mobility, because little is known about the associations between health-related factors and selective residential mobility. This study examined how depressive symptoms, social support, and health behaviors are associated with subsequent residential mobility, as measured by frequency, distance, and direction of moves.

Methods: Participants were selected from the Young Finns prospective cohort study (N = 3017) with four study waves in 1992, 1997, 2001, and 2007. Complete residential mobility history was gathered for each participant from registry data. Residential mobility was assessed over three-year periods following each study wave. The direction of mobility was measured as changes in residential location's population density, health index, mortality index, and unemployment. Area characteristics were used as covariates together with the participants' age, sex, and education.

Results: Individuals reporting higher social support from friends were more likely to move (b = 0.20; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.08, 0.37) and move more frequently (b = 0.08; 95% CI: 0.01, 0.14), whereas individuals reporting higher social support from their family members were less likely to move (b = -0.08; 95% CI: -0.14, -0.02). Better health behaviors were associated with longer moving distances (b = 0.14; 95% CI: 0.06, -0.23). None of the individual characteristics were associated with the direction of moves as measured by changes in municipality characteristics. CONCLUSIONS SOME OF THE HEALTH-RELATED CHARACTERISTICS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH RESIDENTIAL MOBILITY IN FINLAND HOWEVER, THESE INDIVIDUAL CHARACTERISTICS DO NOT SEEM TO PREDICT SYSTEMATIC SELECTIVE RESIDENTIAL MOBILITY ACROSS MUNICIPALITIES WITH DIFFERENT REGIONAL HEALTH PROFILES.

Keywords: Selective residential mobility; health behavior; health inequality; longitudinal; social support.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Population Dynamics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Social Support*