Residential instability in adolescent inpatients

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1989 Mar;28(2):176-81. doi: 10.1097/00004583-198903000-00005.


The case records of 225 randomly selected adolescent psychiatric inpatients were reviewed to determine prevalence of residential instability. The study also examined the demographic, family composition, life event, and behavior characteristics associated with residential instability. Approximately 30% of the sample had experienced a high rate of residential instability (i.e., from 5 to 20 domicile moves). Analyses indicated that residential instability was associated with a set of characteristics that included caregiver neglect, caregiver abuse, parental separation, multiple hospitalizations, lower IQ, indices of poor impulse control, and antisocial behavior. The possible contribution of residential instability to treatment resistance and the development of antisocial behaviors in some adolescents is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Population Dynamics*
  • Runaway Behavior