According to a new study, the high stress levels associated with childhood poverty may put individuals at risk for psychological ill health or behavioral challenges later in life.
In this study from Cornell University, differences between children in low versus middle income families arose in difficulties with spatial memory and socially aggressive behaviors. Adults who had grown up in low-income households also declared themselves powerless to solve an impossible puzzle sooner than adults who had not; researchers took this quickness to be a sign of a greater sense of helplessness. These adults furthermore tended to describe themselves as too "impatient" or argumentative. The researchers believe difficulties with spatial memory may underlie problems with "language and achievement," and all side effects of poverty may place children "on a trajectory to have more...psychological problems" according to one of the authors, Gary Evans.