In this essay I will highlight the psychological effects that poverty is likely to have on a person living in the western world and the possible behavioural consequences of this. I will discuss the problems that go along with children and young people being given prison sentences and I will suggest one viable change that may help to promote equality.
Poverty in itself is not a direct cause of antisocial behaviour but the two are very much intertwined in our modern day individualistic society. Social hierarchy and elevated inequality amplify worries over self-worth across society. Most of us wish to feel accepted, appreciated and valued for who we are but a society that causes large amounts of people feel as though they are perceived as inferior and considered as less worthy, less valuable, less intelligent and a drain on the state not only causes unnecessary pain suffering and wasted potential, but also acquires the costs of the antisocial responses to the structures that demean them. Research shows a clear link between on-going poverty and negative developmental consequences. Mental health issues, behavioural problems, low self-esteem, depression, poor grades, anti-social behaviour and delinquency are all, unsurprisingly, in our society, far more prevalent among poor people. (mc Leod and shanahan 1996)
The effect that poverty has on a person’s sense of self and identity is colossal. The intense stress of being poor, the stigma attached to being poor, the marginalization from greater society and the massive limitations in opportunity are extremely likely to result in undesirable psychological outcomes. Poor children quite often experience feelings such as embarrassment or shame (which have been described as the social emotions) and tend to see themselves in a negative light as a result of negative societal views.... [continues]
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