Always on the Move: How Residential Mobility Impacts Our Well-Being

Socio-Ecological Psychology

An increasing number of studies taking the perspective of socio-ecological psychology are showing that communities and their inhabitants exert a mutual influence on one another (for a review, see Oishi, 2014). Socio-ecological psychology is an approach that examines how natural and social habitats influence human mind and behavior, and how these individual-level effects, in turn, transform natural and social habitats (Oishi & Graham, 2010). For example, it has been documented that ecologically harsh environments (e.g., sparsely populated regions) tend to foster an independent ethos (Kitayama, Conway, Pietromonaco, Park, & Plaut, 2010). Because psychological orientations toward independence are adaptive for survival in these environments, they are likely to be passed down through generations, shaping and reshaping the local landscape and culture into one that promotes individualism (Kitayama et al., 2010; Oishi et al., 2012).


At no other time in history is the opportunity for humans to traverse the world so great. With advances in modern technology and communication, our ability to move geographically is expected to continue into the future. Therefore, it is vital to understand how individuals are impacted by residential mobility. Armed with this knowledge, researchers can hopefully identify ways to help all of us stay happy and well in this increasingly mobile world. 


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