Psychological Effects Of Children In Poverty

Decent Essays
The National Center for Children in Poverty (2016) reported “about 15 million children in the United States – 21% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold, a measurement that has been shown to underestimate the needs of families.” Poverty has a tremendous effect on children. Children who live in poverty experience several mental, emotional, and physical effects, which later influence their academic achievements (Evans & Cassell, 2013). Children in poverty qualify for government assistance programs; however, some of these programs are scarce and tend to have long waitlists. This only makes it harder for children in poverty to benefit from these resources. This research is design to explain how poverty…show more content…
Unfortunately, children in poverty may have special health needs that interfere with their learning abilities. Children in poverty face mental health challenges. Psychologist Gary Evans and Cassell (2013), concluded from their research that “participants who spent more time in poverty in early childhood showed signs of worse mental health in emerging adulthood. Specifically, time spent in poverty was associated with higher levels of externalizing symptoms and learned helplessness at age 17” (pp. 5). Their study involved data from 200 participants that were “involved in a longitudinal study of rural poverty, cumulative risk, and child development, cumulative risk, and child development’’ (Evans & Cassell, 2013). Evans and Cassell were also able to determine that children in poverty who suffer from mental health are frequent victims of violence, family turmoil, separation from family, and other physical risk factor such as noise, crowding, and standard housing. Poverty is also known for disturbing brain development among children. A research performed by psychologist Hair (2015) consisted of 389 healthy children that were monitor from age 4 to 22. These children were monitored based on their academic achievements as well as their tissue volume in select areas of the brain. Their final findings stated that “children who grow up in families below the federal poverty line had gray matter volumes 8 to 10 percent below normal…show more content…
The study was conducted at Clark Elementary school located in the Pacific Northwest. Clark Elementary is school to several low-income families. All information obtained during the study were obtained through observations, interviews, and documental reviews. Information was also gathered from the school principal, teachers, family liaison, and family service. Special focus was set on the family liaison; since “the family liaison provided a bridge between the school and the families of students, served as the coordinator for volunteers, and also connected with community agencies offering social services at the school” (Smith, 2006). After conducting observation, interviews, and reviewing documents “educators came to realize that Clark parents, facing challenges related to SES and language proficiency, might not be able to be involved in the same manner that parents at middle- and upper-class schools would be” (Smith, 2006). In addition, the study also recognized that most low-income parents that visited the school were there to seek family resources. Overall, Smith found that low-income families that were not involved had something in common, which was the lack of resources and
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