Poverty and Children's Adjustment
Publication Year: 1999
This book presents a comprehensive description of child, family, and community-level forces that modify the outcomes of youngsters experiencing conditions of poverty. Integrating a vast and complex array of research findings, the author elucidates salient underlying mechanisms via which poverty-related factors can affect poor children’s social and emotional development. In cohesive closing discussions, findings regarding major risk and protective forces are synthesized while delineating major directions for future work in research and theory development, teaching, and interventions and social policy. This timely and thorough volume is essential reading for students, researchers, and educators, as well as clinicians and policymakers concerned with understanding and promoting the positive development of children contending with family poverty.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: Introduction
- Parameters and Structure
- Chapter 2: Child Attributes
- Gender Differences in Vulnerability to Familial Stressors
- Gender Differences in Vulnerability to Community-Related Influences
- Age Differences
- Personal Characteristics
- Trajectories of Adjustment
- Chapter 3: Poverty and the Family: Demographic and Structural Features
- Teenage Mothers
- Family Structure
- Chapter 4: Poverty and the Family: Psychological Processes
- Poverty and Parents' Functioning
- Parental Behaviors
- Models of Family Functioning in the Context of Poverty
- Chapter 5: Exosystemic Influences
- Support Networks
- The Physical Environment
- Violence in the Neighborhood
- Chapter 6: Future Directions
- Childhood in Poverty: Directions for Future Inquiry
- Teaching and Curricula
Developmental Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry Series[Page ii]
Series Editor: Alan E. Kazdin, Yale University
Recent volumes in this series …
8: LIFE EVENTS AS STRESSORS IN CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE
by James H. Johnson
9: CONDUCT DISORDERS IN CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE,
by Alan E. Kazdin
10: CHILD ABUSE, 2nd. Ed.
by David A. Wolfe
11: PREVENTING MALADJUSTMENT FROM INFANCY THROUGH ADOLESCENCE
by Annette U. Rickel and LaRue Allen
12: TEMPERAMENT AND CHILD PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
by William T. Garrison and Felton J. Earls
13: EMPIRICALLY BASED ASSESSMENT OF CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHOPATHOLOGY, 2nd Ed.
by Thomas M. Achenbach and
Stephanie H. McConaughy
14: MARRIAGE, DIVORCE, AND CHILDREN'S ADJUSTMENT, 2nd Ed.
by Robert E. Emery
by Laura Schreibman
18: DELINQUENCY IN ADOLESCENCE
by Scott W. Henggeler
19: CHRONIC ILLNESS DURING CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE
by William T. Garrison and Susan McQuiston
20: ANXIETY DISORDERS IN CHILDREN
by Rachel G. Klein and Cynthia G. Last
21: CHILDREN OF BATTERED WOMEN
by Peter G. Jaffe, David A. Wolfe, and Susan Kaye Wilson
22: SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
by Steven P. Schinke, Gilbert J. Botvin, and Mario A. Orlandi
23: CHILD PSYCHIATRIC EPIDEMIOLOGY
by Frank C. Verhulst and Hans M. Koot
24: EATING AND GROWTH DISORDERS IN INFANTS AND CHILDREN
by Joseph L. Woolston
25: NEUROLOGICAL BASIS OF CHILDHOOD PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
by George W. Hynd and Stephen R. Hooper
26: ADOLESCENT SEXUAL BEHAVIOR AND CHILDBEARING
by Laurie Schwab Zabin and Sarah C. Hayward
27: EFFECTS OF PSYCHOTHERAPY WITH CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
by John R. Weisz and Bahr Weiss
28: BEHAVIOR AND DEVELOPMENT IN FRAGILE X SYNDROME
by Elisabeth M. Dykens, Robert M. Hodapp, and James F. Leckman
29: ATTENTION DEFICITS AND HYPERACTIVITY IN CHILDREN
by Stephen P. Hinshaw
30: LEARNING DISABILITIES
by Byron P. Rourke and Jerel E. Del Dotto
31: PEDIATRIC TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY
by Jeffrey H. Snow and Stephen R. Hooper
32: FAMILIES, CHILDREN, AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF DYSFUNCTION
by Mark R. Dadds
33: ADOLESCENTS AND THE MEDIA
by Victor C. Strasburger
34: SCHOOL-BASED PREVENTION PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
by Joseph A. Durlak
35: CHILDHOOD OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER
by Greta Francis and Rod A. Gragg
36: TREATING CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS IN RESIDENTIAL AND INPATIENT SETTINGS
by Robert D. Lyman and Nancy R. Campbell
37: THE IMPACT OF FAMILY VIOLENCE ON CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
by Javad H. Kashani and Wesley D. Allan
38: CHILDREN'S ADJUSTMENT TO ADOPTION
by David M. Brodzinsky, Daniel W. Smith, and Anne B. Brodzinsky
39: MOTOR COORDINATION DISORDERS IN CHILDREN
by David A. Sugden and Helen Wright
40: CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE
by David M. Fergusson and Paul E. Mullen
41: POVERTY AND CHILDREN'S ADJUSTMENT
by Suniya S. Luthar
Copyright © 1999 by Sage Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Luthar, Suniya S.
Poverty and children's adjustment / by Suniya S. Luthar.
p. cm.—(Developmental clinical psychology and psychiatry series; v. 41)
Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index.
ISBN 0-7619-0518-9 (cloth: acid-free paper)
ISBN 0-7619-0519-7 (pbk.: acid-free paper)
1. Poor children—United States—Psychology. 2. Socially handicapped children—United States—Psychology. 3. Poverty—United States—Psychological aspects. 4. Adjustment (Psychology) in children—United States. 5. Child psychopathology—United States. I. Title. II. Series: Developmental clinical psychology and psychiatry; v. 41.
HV741 .L88 1999
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
99 00 01 02 03 04 05 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Acquisition Editor: Jim Nageotte
Editorial Assistant: Heidi Van Middlesworth
Production Editor: Denise Santoyo
Editorial Assistant: Nevair Kabakian
Typesetter: Lynn Miyata
Cover Designer: Candice Harman
Indexer: Virgil Diodato
[Page v]For my mother, Naresh Luthar, who has made so much possible.[Page vi]
Series Editor's Introduction[Page ix]
Interest in child development and adjustment is by no means new. Yet, only recently has the study of children benefited from advances in both clinical and scientific research. Advances in the social and biological sciences, the emergence of disciplines and subdisciplines that focus exclusively on childhood and adolescence, and greater appreciation of the impact of such influences as the family, peers, and school have helped accelerate research on developmental psychopathology. Apart from interest in the study of child development and adjustment for its own sake, the need to address clinical problems of adulthood naturally draws one to investigate precursors in childhood and adolescence.
Within a relatively brief period, the study of psychopathology among children and adolescents has proliferated considerably. Several different professional journals, annual book series, and handbooks devoted entirely to the study of children and adolescents and their adjustment document the proliferation of work in the field. Nevertheless, there is a paucity of resource material that presents information in an authoritative, systematic, and disseminable fashion. There is a need within the field to convey the latest developments and to represent different disciplines, approaches, and conceptual views to the topics of childhood and adolescent adjustment and maladjustment.
The Sage Series on Developmental Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry is designed to uniquely serve several needs of the field. The Series encompasses individual monographs prepared by experts in the fields of clinical child psychology, child psychiatry, child development, and related disciplines. The primary focus is on developmental psychopathology which refers broadly here to the diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and prevention of problems that arise in the period from infancy through adolescence. A working assumption of the Series is that understanding, identifying, and treating problems of youth must draw on multiple disciplines and diverse views within a given discipline.
[Page x]The task for individual contributors is to present the latest theory and research on various topics including specific types of dysfunction, diagnostic and treatment approaches, and special problem areas that affect adjustment. Core topics within clinical work are addressed by the Series. Authors are asked to bridge potential theory, research and clinical practice, and to outline the current status and future directions. The goals of the Series and the tasks presented to individual contributors are demanding. We have been extremely fortunate in recruiting leaders in the fields who have been able to translate their recognized scholarship and expertise into highly readable works on contemporary topics.
In this book, Dr. Suniya Luthar examines Poverty and Children's Adjustment. The broad and pervasive impact of poverty on children's mental and physical health and adjustment are well-known. Dr. Luthar focuses on processes that exacerbate or ameliorate the effects on personal, emotional, and social development of the child. Among the many features that make this book unique is the focus on the moderators and mediators of poverty. Moderators, that is those factors that influence the impact of poverty, and mediators, the processes and mechanisms through which poverty influence child adjustment, lead to a meticulous evaluation of several topics critical to understanding child development. Examples include how poverty is influenced by characteristics of the child (e.g., intelligence, temperament), parents (e.g., parent psychopathology, teen pregnancy), family (e.g., marital relations, presence of extended family members), peer relations, schools, and neighborhoods, to mention a few of the topics. The book presents a sophisticated view of influences by emphasizing how the effects of risk and protective factors are modified by other influences such as ethnicity, child age and stage of development, and contexts and how influences can be reciprocal, bidirectional, and cumulative. The impact of poverty is enormous, as we are shown in this book. The global nature of the construct and the dependence on complex forces (e.g., education, economics) not easily harnessed can make conceptualization, research, and intervention daunting. Dr. Luthar conveys many specific mechanisms and processes through which the influences of poverty operate and hence provides multiple leads for advancing research and for intervening to help children. Her in-depth knowledge of key issues, current research, and theory, as well as her own program of research on risk and protective factors of children and adolescents, provide the basis for an authoritative, comprehensive, and cohesive presentation. The book is quite extraordinary in its contribution to understanding poverty and advancing prospects for improving child adjustment.ALAN E.Kazdin, PhDSeries Editor
The focus of this book is on risk and protective processes that modify the effects of poverty on children's social and emotional adjustment. The attempt is to integrate findings of empirical research conducted over the past three decades, on processes implicated in the adjustment of children facing socioeconomic deprivation. The bulk of the research presented here derives from developmental psychology, a discipline which accords much emphasis to elucidating the psychological processes that underlie effects of “social address” variables, such as socioeconomic status, on child development (Bronfenbrenner, 1986; Zigler, Lamb, & Child, 1982). In addition, this review draws upon empirical evidence from several other disciplines concerned with children in poverty, including anthropology, sociology, epidemiology, pediatrics, psychiatry, and social work.
I am deeply grateful to Alan Kazdin for the invitation to write this book, as well as for his unfailing good humor throughout the process. My special thanks to Herbert Ginsburg and Jacob Burack for their substantive comments on previous drafts, and to my students Bronwyn Becker and Shawn Latendresse for their many contributions to this effort.
For diverse forms of support of my work, all critical, I am indebted to my mentors Edward Zigler and S. Anandalakshmy; to colleagues at Teachers College, Columbia University, the Yale Substance Abuse Center, and the APT Foundation, New Haven; and to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (grants ROM 1498, RO1-10726, P50-09241, K21-00202), the Social Sciences Research Council, and the William T. Grant Foundation. For their moral support over time and particularly through the preparation of this book, I am very grateful to my family: the late Mr. L. N. Suri, Anju Seth, Karuna Kumar, Judith Benenson, and especially my husband, Shiv, and children, Nikhil and Nina Kumar.
Finally, I owe a great deal to collaborators in Connecticut—Andrew Karchich, Richard Mayer, George Moran, and Joyce Undella—who made it [Page xii]possible for me to begin, and later continue, my research on resilience and vulnerability among urban high school students. And for the many invaluable insights provided and lessons taught, my heartfelt appreciation goes to the children and families who have generously joined me in my research efforts over the years.
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