Does Poverty Affect Self-Esteem?

In a 2015 study by Ben Fell and Miles Hewstone from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, UK, what many, living in poverty or working in deprived areas, had suspected for a long time, was proven accurate. Poverty has a detrimental effect that goes far beyond lacking resources. So, to answer the question, “does poverty affect self-esteem?”: Yes, it does.

In fact, researchers concluded that those living in poverty also suffer in many other ways. Lack of self-esteem, feelings of personal failure, along with lack of self-confidence are just among some of the very serious issues facing those living in poverty.

Study Findings

Here’s a summary of the findings, providing a clear-cut answer to the question “does poverty affect self-esteem?”.

Negative Perceptions Copper Fasten Stereotypes

People have strong negative perceptions of people living in poverty, believing that this poverty results from personal failings. Stereotyping is common, even among policy-makers. When designing anti-poverty drives, these perceptions may well influence the approach.

Mixing Communities Helps

Contact between communities of different socioeconomic backgrounds helps to build relationships. In addition, mixing communities works toward creating a better mutual understanding. Children, in particular, can benefit from mixing with kids from a variety of communities.

Negative Stereotypes Lower the Self-Esteem of Those Living in Poverty

Negative perceptions compound the issues. In fact, they affect the way those living in poverty perceive themselves. In many cases, stereotypes lead to lower self-esteem and lack of self-confidence. What’s more, it makes educational and professional achievements more difficult to obtain.

Poverty Increase Mental Health Problem Risks

The stress of living in poverty can trigger serious mental health issues including schizophrenia, depression, and substance abuse.

Poverty May Lead to Health Issue for Children In Later Life

The study also suggests that children learn to cope with the strain of living in poverty at an early age. Though they are able to manage these stress levels, some go onto developing cancer and heart disease as a result.

Scarcity Mindset

Living in poverty creates a scarcity mindset and may rob individuals of the ability to plan for a better future. Because they can only provide for themselves from one day to the next and are constantly lacking financial resources, they lose their long-term perspective. This means that the scarcity mindset heightens and perpetuates the problems and issues surrounding the poverty.

Poorer Performance Among Kids

Kids from deprived areas perform less well in many areas. They are less able to take on language tasks, make decisions, plan, and pay attention.

The Poverty Trap Is Alive and Well

This makes for depressing reading. It seems, escaping the poverty trap is even more difficult than you’d imagine. If you think about it, it all makes perfect sense, though. If you’re poor, you’re consumed with worry, day by day, while you have to put up with the stereotypes. So how do you get out of the poverty trap?

Well, according to this study, each socioeconomic class should mix with another. Perhaps it’s up to those who have to reach out to those who don’t – leaving aside all the negative preconceptions.

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17 thoughts on “Does Poverty Affect Self-Esteem?

  1. Interesting and very truthful. A lot of us don’t realize what poverty can do outside of the fact that there’s no money around. That’s a very stressful situation that gets passed down. It’s a situation that happens at the gas station, the grocery store, what kids have and don’t have for school……. it goes on.
    I’d like to know more about where you get your poems from – your writing? Others?
    Definitely a way to open peoples eyes!

    1. Hi Laurel, thanks for your comment. What you’re saying it’s very true. Often, it’s kids who get pigeon-holed into the ‘poverty role’. After that, many find it difficult to break through and go on to get a good education and a well-paid job. I guess, those members of society who don’t have financial difficulties should reach out and support the less well-off.

      All the stuff on the website is my own writing. I come across an issue that bothers me and write about it then.

  2. More than poverty, I see that not being educated with morals and principles is what really affects people. The rich think they can buy it all. They can’t buy ethics. The poor think they are less; money can’t buy happiness. Being poor only affects if you believe it. It is a decision.

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