Poverty and psychology

Olga V. Poluektova, Maria V. Efremova, S.M. Breugelmans

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This paper presents a study on the association between dimensions of poverty (income, subjective socioeconomic status, deprivation, and socioeconomic status in childhood) and individual psychological characteristics. In this study, our goal was to determine: 1) the differences in individual psychological characteristics between poor and non-poor people; 2) the effect of each dimension, or indicator, of poverty on individual psychological characteristics (self-esteem, life satisfaction, trust, self-efficacy, self-control, dispositional greed, and individual values); and 3) the relationship between each indicator of poverty and each individual psychological characteristic. We collected data from 157 poor (those whose incomes fall below the poverty threshold) and 140 nonpoor (those whose incomes exceed the poverty threshold) participants from Moscow and the greater Moscow region by administering questionnaires containing measures of individual psychological characteristics and poverty. We analyzed the data using multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA), and part and partial correlation analysis. The results obtained revealed that poverty had significant multivariate effects on individual psychological characteristics (univariate effects were significant for self-esteem, life satisfaction, Self-Transcendence values, and trust); in addition, all indicators of poverty except income had significant multivariate effects on individual psychological characteristics. Furthermore, subjective socioeconomic status was positively associated with life satisfaction, self-esteem, self-transcendence values, and trust; deprivation was positively associated with greed and self-enhancement values, and negatively associated with life satisfaction and self-esteem; socioeconomic status in childhood was positively associated with greed, self-enhancement values, life satisfaction and self-efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherNational Research University Higher School of Economics
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2015

Publication series

NameBasic Research Program Working Papers
PublisherNational Research University Higher School of Economics
No.WP BRP 49/PSY/2015


  • Poverty


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