Poverty In America: The Psychology Of Being Poor

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(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(CBS Charlotte) — For a person living in financial comfort, the daily stresses of making ends meet is not an issue — but for a person living in poverty, they cannot escape financial worry.

Living in poverty effects every aspect of a person’s life. Often times, the emotional stress of being poor and not knowing how the rent or electric bill will get paid is overwhelming. It impedes the person’s ability to function properly and to sleep adequately.

Unlike normal daily stresses, waking up to a new day doesn’t make systematic poverty go away, but rather lacking money is a constant struggle that poor people deal with day in and day out.

The psychological effects of being poor are well-documented. People who are surrounded by poverty eventually lose hope that things will get better. Additionally, wealthier individuals tend to criticize the poor and have a hard time understanding why they cannot escape their unfortunate plight. Often times, poor people feel oppressed, and this oppression makes them less motivated to try to better their situation.

(Related Article: Poverty In America: Why It’s Difficult To Climb Out Of Poverty)

A poor person faced with financial insecurity may have trouble coping with their reality. They may spend what little money they have on drugs or alcohol. Use of drugs or alcohol is a coping mechanism that inevitably depletes their funds further.

The stress associated with living in poverty can also cause illness. On top of poverty, a poor person who falls ill may feel like the world is against them. These feelings of hopelessness may lead to suicidal thoughts or tendencies.

The bottom line is without options or available resources, there is very little a person living in poverty can do to crawl out of poverty.

-Nichole Jaworski, CBS Charlotte

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