Reading: / Multiple Choice Type Question (MCQ) / Part 4


Questions 1-6, which are based on Reading Passage 


For some people, there is little in life more stressful than moving house; for others, there is a definite excitement in relocation since the belief that the grass is greener on the other side holds sway.

However, for Dr Jill Molveldt, a psychotherapist in Durban, South Africa, Relocation Stress Syndrome, or RSS, which she has been researching for a decade, is a matter of professional concern. Dr Molveldt began her career as a medical doctor in 1999, but turned to therapy when she doubted the efficacy of some medication. Time and again, patients presented at her surgery who - to all intents and purposes - had little physically wrong, but were not function- ing optimally. Usually, such people with anxiety-related disorders are prescribed drugs, But Dr Molveldt observed that many seemed to improve just as readily through talking to her. Therefore, from 2006-2008, she underwent extensive training in the United States in a number of techniques used in therapy.

On return to South Africa, Dr Molveldt moved her family and her burgeoning practice – now devoted entirely to therapy - from Pietermaritzburg, a small city, to Durban, a larger, more cosmopolitan one. Immediately following this move, Dr Molveldt herself fell ill. Medical testing for vague symptoms like headaches, skin rashes, and insomnia brought neither relief nor diagnosis. At the time, she could not possibly have imagined that she, herself, had any psychological problems. Her only recent difficulty had been relocating to Durban due to her children‘s maladjustment to their third school in three years, and to the irritation caused by a protracted renovation. All the same, she far preferred the beachside lifestyle of Durban to that of conservative inland Pietermaritzburg.

Quite by chance, in the summer of 2010, Dr Molveldt ran into a neighbour from her old city who had also moved to Durban. This woman seemed uncharacteristically depressed, and had experienced mood swings and weight gain since her arrival. As the neighbour recounted her complicated tale of moving, Dr Molveldt suddenly realised that her acquaintance - like herself was suffering from RSS.

Upon this discovery, Dr Molveldt began sifting through medical and psychological literature to learn more about her syndrome, only to find precious little written about it. Conferences she 3 attended in Greece and Argentina in which stress featured as a topic for keynote speakers did little to enlighten her. Therefore, Dr Molveldt felt she had no option but to collect her own patient data from medical practice and Emergency Room records in Durban and Cape Town in order to ascertain the extent of the problem. Over four years, she surveyed people with non- specific health problems as well as those who had had minor accidents.

In Durban and Cape Town, it might be expected in the general population that 1% of people have moved within a month, and 5% within six months. Yet nearly 3% of patients seen by GPs in Dr Molveldt's study had moved within one month, and 9% within six. Minor accident patients had also moved recently, and some of them had had more than two residential addresses in one year.

Dr Molveldt then examined records of more serious accidents from a nationwide database, and, with the aid of a research grant, conducted interviews with 600 people. Admittedly, alcohol played a part in serious accident rates, but many interviewees said they had been drinking in response to circumstances - one of which was moving house. People who had had serious accidents, however, had not moved more frequently than those with non-specific ailments.

So just how stressful is moving? After all, stress is part of life - think about exams, a new job, marriage, having a child, divorce, illness, or the death of a loved one. Where does RSS fit in relation to these? Dr Molveldt puts it above exams (including for medical school), and some- where between being newly married and bearing a child. (Newlyweds and young mothers also visit doctors' surgeries and Emergency Rooms more than they should statistically.)

Interestingly, subjects in several of Dr Molveldt's tests rated moving less highly than she did, putting it about equal to sitting a tough exam.

As a side issue, Dr Molveldt found that the number of relationships that broke down around the time of moving was elevated. She considers the link between breakdown and RSS to be tenuous, suggesting instead that couples who are already struggling move house in the hope of resuscitating their relationship. Invariably, this does not happen. Moreover, it is the children in these cases who suffer most: not only has upheaval meant the low of their old school and friends, but it also signals adjustment to occupation of their new home while one absent parent resides in another.

If Dr Molveldt’s research is anything to go by, next time you yearn to live elsewhere, think twice. Moving may be more stressful than you imagine, and the only papers you get to say you’ve done it are a fee from your doctor and a heap of mail from the previous inhabitants of your dwelling.


Questions 1-6

Choose the correct letter: A, B, C, or D.

Write the correct letter in boxes 1 -6 on your answer sheet.

1 RSS stands for………………….

  1.  Relationship Stress Syndrome
  2.  Relocation Sickness Syndrome
  3.  Relocation Stress Symptoms
  4.  Relocation Stress Syndrome

2 When Dr Molveldt fell ill in 2009,………………….

  1.  she was worried she had psychological problems.
  2.  no one could work out what was wrong with her.
  3.  she thought she missed Pietermaritzburg.
  4.  she realised she had RSS.

3 As part of her RSS, Dr Molveldt’s old neighbor………………..

  1.  had backache.
  2.  had headaches.
  3.  had skin problems.
  4.  was happy one day but sad the next.

4 Initially, Dr Molveldt’s data came from……….

  1.  patients of medical practices and hospital emergency departments.
  2.  hospital emergency department patients only.
  3.  patients of medical practices only.
  4.  other research.

5 In Dr Molveldt’s study, the relationship between the number of people who move house in the general population and those who also visit a doctor within one month of relocation is…

  1. twice as many.
  2. three times as many.
  3. half as many.
  4. two-thirds as many.

6 Some of Dr Molveldt’s data on serious accidents came from…………….

  1.  a Pietermaritzburg database.
  2.  Durban and Cape Town databases.
  3.  a database for all South Africa.
  4.  international databases.