Course: Child-Adolescent Development
Lecturer: Mrs. Kennedy
Date: February 19, 2013
Discuss how poverty affects the psychosocial, cognitive, moral and physical development of the adolescent
The term poverty is usually used to simply refer to a lack of money, but living in a state of financial instability is both physically and emotionally damaging. While an adolescent who grows up in a middle class suburb is taught that he or she can go to college, marry, have a rewarding career, and make a meaningful contribution to the world at large, a child born into poverty must struggle to simply make it to adulthood. The long term effects of poverty are why this is a social issue that deserves public attention. Poverty is one of the most devastating preventable phenomena working against the healthy development of an adolescent whom are at a very crucial stage in their growth and development. During this developmental process they are going through, adolescents need an enhancing and stimulating environment to support their growth but if these adolescents are situated in poverty stricken environment their growth will be affected because through poverty they are deprived from needs and wants which is essential in their development and this alters their process of development as the effects of poverty may wrap, twist or arrest the process as the adolescents undergo psychosocial, cognitive, moral and physical development. Therefore, its far-reaching effect can be devastating to the development of adolescents. Poverty has a major negative impact on adolescent’s psychosocial development. According to studies by V.C. McLoyd, “persistent exposure to poverty has a directly negative effect on a child’s health”. The more obvious explanation for the reasoning of this are that lifestyle and living conditions for those who live in poverty affect a child negatively. Environmental deprivation is usually what we consider when we think about poverty, but it is not the only factor. Stressors such as unsafe or life-threatening living conditions and violence play a part. Among these is deprivation of other essential necessities that are needed, such as food, medicine and a safe home. Deprivation of any of these things, especially in infancy or early childhood has a marked effect on psychosocial development. As McLoyd points out, children who live in poverty are exposed to more extreme living situations than those who are not living under similar circumstances. These conditions may have a more pronounced effect or influence on them. During adolescent there is a large degree of psychological growth as children make adjustments in their personality due to the rapid development. They face ongoing conflict and difficulty adapting to the sudden upsurge of sexual and aggressive drive. These changes cause unrest and confusion in the adolescents’ inner selves and the way they perceive the world. During this maturation they establish their own beliefs, values and what they want to accomplish out of life. At this stage their also separating emotionally from parents while still being reliant on them but as they have to struggle with the challenges of poverty, instead of having a healthy psychosocial development they are at greater risk of behavioral and emotional problems because they do not think of things the way they should instead they get a perverted mind especially against persons who are living in a better condition from them causing them to not think normally. Some behavioral problems may include impulsiveness, difficulty getting along with peers, aggression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and conduct disorder because they are in an environment which places a lot of limitations on them. Also, because of their poor status often times they are living in unsafe neighborhoods which exposes children to violence which can cause a number of psychosocial difficulties. Violence exposure can also predict future...