Monday, January 12, 2009

Poor Kids Turn Into Depressed Teens

Being poor, as many people have stated and will continue to state over the course of human history, sucks. The limited financial resources make it difficult – if not impossible – to access certain things. Food, medical care, education, and living space can all be drastically affected for the worse by a lack of financial resources. It doesn't get any easier as you grow older, but according to a recent study, part of the problem might be connected to the mentality instilled in the typical child below the poverty line. Research suggests that children in poorer families are at a higher risk of developing depression than those in higher income ranges.

The study followed a total of 500 families from Iowa for a decade, and their gathered data showed that children in families below the poverty line were at a higher risk of developing depression upon reaching adolescence. These teenagers, based on observations, displayed a tendency to make decisions that made it difficult for them to get out of their economic situation. The decisions listed included leaving home, getting married earlier than average, and having unprotected sex and proceeding to keep the baby.

These decisions inevitably make it harder for them to escape their economic difficulties, which results in a cyclical situation. The cycle eventually causes children to be at higher risk of encountering obstacles during adulthood that they may not be prepared to handle. These can include lower levels of educational attainment, a lack of stability in their personal relationships, and yes, depression. The findings reflected that the adversity tended to be reflected within a given family over generations, from the family of origin to the family of the offspring. Only in rare cases have there been exceptions that disproved the data, and even then, depression seemed to be at higher risk than in the rest of the population. In simpler terms, the researchers described it as “the transmission of poverty.”

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