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Study: Frequent School Changes May Increase Psychotic Symptoms

Gloda/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Does frequently changing schools as a child increase a person’s risk of psychotic issues years later?

In a study published in American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, researchers found that frequent school changes during childhood heightens the risk of developing psychotic-like symptoms in early adolescence by up to 60 percent.

Researchers at Warwick Medical School interviewed a number of 12-year-olds to assess the presence of psychotic-like symptoms, including hallucinations and delusions, in the previous six months, and found those who had changed schools three or more times were found to be 60 percent more likely to display at least one specific psychotic symptom.

Professor Swaran Singh, who led the study, explains, "Changing schools can be very stressful for students. Our study found that the process of moving schools may itself increase the risk of psychotic symptoms -- independent of other factors. But additionally, being involved in bullying, sometimes as a consequence of repeated school moves, may exacerbate risk for the individual."

The study’s authors call on schools to develop strategies to help these students establish themselves in their new environment.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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