Poverty Affects the Mental Health of Children

A 2006 report from ScienceDaily, still relevant today:

Children in low-income families start off with higher levels of antisocial behaviour than children from more advantaged households. And if the home remains poor as the children grow up, antisocial behaviour becomes much worse over time compared to children living in households that are never poor or later move out of poverty, says new University of Alberta research.

“In other words, the lowest levels of antisocial behaviour are found in kids whose parents start and stay in the highest income bracket while their kids grow up,” says Dr. Lisa Strohschein, author of the study and sociologist at the U of A.

While the findings show that the effects of low income at an early age on antisocial behaviour–conduct such as bullying, being cruel, breaking things, cheating or telling lies–persist as kids get older, depression seems to have the opposite effect. The effects of starting off in a low-income household on child depression lessen as time goes on, regardless of later income levels. The research is published in the current issue of the “Journal of Health and Social Behavior.”

“These findings might mean that antisocial behaviour is an example of biological embedding–it is possible that poverty early in life helps to set into motion a consistent pattern of antisocial behaviours that are difficult to change once learned,” says Strohschein. This finding supports at least one developmental theory that posits that early childhood constitutes a sensitive period of development in which insults suffered during this time are likely to have long lasting effects on child development.

Looks to me like these finding disprove the rather simplistic theory that anybody who grows up poor can compete with those who grow up rich or middle class and succeed, and if they don’t it’s because they’re just lazy.   Read more here.

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  • Vox Penii

    perhaps this is a “wet street cause rain” story:

    that is to say, perhaps people who are antisocial are more likely to bear children into poverty…

  • William Xavier McGarley

    Disappointing, but not surprising. Kids these days just aren’t as tough as we were when I was coming up. What kind of whimp can’t take a measly decade or so of crippling want, violence and abuse during their formative years? Lord, when I was a kid our old man would thrash us to sleep every night with a leather strap, and give us an extra helping if we didn’t thank him for his troubles!

    • Haystack

      Your dad could afford a *leather* strap?

      • William Xavier McGarley

        Back in the old days, before contaminated drinking water had reduced the typical man’s sperm count below the I.Q. of a whippet-addicted rave fairy, we ate meat and wore leather. A man wassn’t considered a real man unless he could provide his squaw a new fur apron every Spring.

        Many’s the time I sawr my oul’ man, amblin’ down the street as casual as ye please and stop suddinly when a grizzly caught his eye. (Manhattan was still wild country beyond 135th in them days).

        He’d pounce on that old bear alla suddenlike and choke the life out of ‘im with his own two hands. Cut a thong for a belt out of its hide with nothing more than a jagged thumbnail.

        Didn’t need no fancy-shmancy metal belt buckles, either. Just tie it up in a square knot and away with him as pretty as ye please.

        [Those with conditions such as irony aversion or lack of sense of humour should consult their doctor or other medical professional before re-reading the above posts.. Contains 150% the daily recommended amount of bullshit]

  • William Xavier McGarley

    Disappointing, but not surprising. Kids these days just aren’t as tough as we were when I was coming up. What kind of whimp can’t take a measly decade or so of crippling want, violence and abuse during their formative years? Lord, when I was a kid our old man would thrash us to sleep every night with a leather strap, and give us an extra helping if we didn’t thank him for his troubles!

  • Andrew
  • Haystack

    Your dad could afford a *leather* strap?

  • William Xavier McGarley

    Back in the old days, before contaminated drinking water had reduced the typical man’s sperm count below the I.Q. of a whippet-addicted rave fairy, we ate meat and wore leather. A man wassn’t considered a real man unless he could provide his squaw a new fur apron every Spring.

    Many’s the time I sawr my oul’ man, amblin’ down the street as casual as ye please and stop suddinly when a grizzly caught his eye. (Manhattan was still wild country beyond 135th in them days).

    He’d pounce on that old bear alla suddenlike and choke the life out of ‘im with his own two hands. Cut a thong for a belt out of its hide with nothing more than a jagged thumbnail.

    Didn’t need no fancy-shmancy metal belt buckles, either. Just tie it up in a square knot and away with him as pretty as ye please.

    [Those with conditions such as irony aversion or lack of sense of humour should consult their doctor or other medical professional before re-reading the above posts.. Contains 150% the daily recommended amount of bullshit]

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Nothing like a culture built on the back of false dreams of wealth and plenty to guarantee that those who fall through the gigantic cracks live a life of desperation, fear and misery…and share that with their children. Other cultures that endure crippling poverty still don’t generate such sociopathic behavior…I can only assume the key difference is that they were never beguiled into expecting wealth and aren’t teased with it or demeaned for lacking it.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    Nothing like a culture built on the back of false dreams of wealth and plenty to guarantee that those who fall through the gigantic cracks live a life of desperation, fear and misery…and share that with their children. Other cultures that endure crippling poverty still don’t generate such sociopathic behavior…I can only assume the key difference is that they were never beguiled into expecting wealth and aren’t teased with it or demeaned for lacking it.

  • Darklord

    Yet another reason to get rid of the monetary system. What a great world this would be if we could all just work together for are benefit and health. We need to find a better way. Money is enslaving us all.

  • Darklord

    Yet another reason to get rid of the monetary system. What a great world this would be if we could all just work together for are benefit and health. We need to find a better way. Money is enslaving us all.

  • Andrew
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