Instability versus quality: Residential mobility, neighborhood poverty, and children's self-regulation

Amanda L. Roy, Dana Charles McCoy, C. Cybele Raver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prior research has found that higher residential mobility is associated with increased risk for children's academic and behavioral difficulty. In contrast, evaluations of experimental housing mobility interventions have shown moving from high poverty to low poverty neighborhoods to be beneficial for children's outcomes. This study merges these disparate bodies of work by considering how poverty levels in origin and destination neighborhoods moderate the influence of residential mobility on 5th graders' selfregulation. Using inverse probability weighting with propensity scores to minimize observable selection bias, this work found that experiencing a move during early or middle childhood was related to negative child outcomes (as indicated by increased behavioral and cognitive dysregulation measured via direct assessment and teacher-report) in 5th grade. However, these relationships were moderated by neighborhood poverty; Moves out of low poverty and moves into high poverty neighborhoods were detrimental, while moves out of high poverty and moves into low poverty neighborhoods were beneficial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1891-1896
Number of pages6
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Inverse probability weighting
  • Neighborhood poverty
  • Residential mobility
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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