Jump to navigation Jump to content

Poverty and psychological resilience

We tend to think about poverty as a lack of the material resources that money can buy. As a psychologist, I see poverty as a lack of non-material resources which stems from the absence of the financial resources which make it easier to manage adverse circumstances effectively.  These include social resources such as education and social and community networks but also include less obvious, psychological resources.

Psychological resources include the cognitive processes, that allow us to self-regulate and manage ourselves in response to a changing environment as well as our personal beliefs and attitudes about ourselves and our situations.  While our genetic inheritance certainly makes a contribute to the personal psychological resource we enjoy, lack of material resource has an impact on our ability to develop and strengthen these resources.

For example, planning relatively simple actions requires financial resource. Imagine a woman who cannot afford to get pregnant and wants advice about effective contraception from her doctor.  She is insecurely employed and loses pay if she takes time off work. She works irregular hours for the minimum wage. Her hours are based on the needs of her employer who only gives her a rota a few days in advance. She could get a routine appointment with her doctor if she makes the appointment three weeks before hand, but…

Continue at Stirling Public Policy Hub


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.