Adults who move back home see improved mental health, study

Adult woman using laptop at kitchen counter (Alamy Stock Photo)
Adult woman using laptop at kitchen counter (Alamy Stock Photo)

Adults who moved back in with their parents experience a mental health boost, according to a new study.

Researchers at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) were surprised by their findings after examining the mental well-being of adult children returning to the family home.

The study of 9,714 British adults aged between 21 and 35 found that around 15 per cent moved back in with their parents at least once.

These adults had higher mental health scores despite losing independence.

Researchers suggest that the so-called “boomerang generation” may find parental support beneficial as it shields them from the stress of the private rental sector.

Professor Emily Grundy, who co-authored the study, told The Observer: “We expected that probably their mental health would get worse if they had to give up their independence and that they might feel that they were falling behind their peer group and going back might seem retrograde.

“So we were quite surprised to find that on the contrary their mental health seemed to improve.

“The whole process of things that we think are important of transition to adulthood have rather shifted.”

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 4.9 million non-dependant children were living with their parents when the Census was taken in 2021, an increase of 14.7 per cent from 10 years ago.

The proportion of young adults living at home has slowly risen over the past few decades. In 1997, 20 per cent of those aged between 20 and 34 lived with their parents. This increased to 23 per cent in 2010, 26 per cent in 2016 and 28 per cent in 2021, according to the ONS.

The ONS says that local authorities with the largest increases in young adults living at home have house prices above the England and Wales average, while the opposite is true for those areas where the proportion has declined.