Evans & Cassells (2014) found that:
Growing up in poverty (birth to age 9) predicted externalizing symptoms and learned helplessness at age 17.
Emerging adult economic levels (at age 17) did not change the significance of these relationships
The impact of growing up in poverty on externalizing was mediated by cumulative risk at age 13. In other words, if you take out the influence of cumulative risk, growing up in poverty no longer predicts externalizing problems.
The impact of growing up in poverty on learned helplessness was partially mediated by cumulative risk at age 13. In other words, if you take out the influence of cumulative risk, growing up in poverty still explains some of the variability in learned helplessness but not all of it.
These findings suggest that the impact of growing up in poverty on wellbeing (externalizing and learned helplessness) in emerging adulthood is strong. However, it also appears that this can be explained, or partially explained, by the cumulative risk faced at age 13.
For your journal this week consider how this might inform policy or organizations looking to support children who have grown up in poverty. How might we intervene to interrupt the relationship between growing up in poverty and externalizing behaviors and learned helplessness? How might we influence the mediator of cumulative risk at 13? When might this mean programs should start? What sorts of supports might be important to offer?
Given the presentations we’ve seen on community organizations that support resilience, and Masten’s short list of factors contributing to resilience. What might such an intervention program consist of?
(These are big questions but remember this journal only needs to be 300 words.)
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