“Why me?”: Low-Income Women’s Poverty Attributions, Mental Health, and Social Class Perceptions

“Why me?”: Low-Income Women’s Poverty Attributions, Mental Health, and Social Class... Although much is known about broad societal attitudes toward poverty, less is known about how women perceive their own poverty. We sought to examine the types of self attributions low-income women make about their poverty, as well as the association of self poverty attributions to women’s mental health and upward mobility beliefs. Using close-ended questions in a community sample of 66 low-income mothers from the Midwestern United States, we found these women were most likely to attribute their poverty to issues related to having children, their romantic relationships, and structural/government blame. The least endorsed attributions for poverty were fatalistic and individualistic reasons. Attributing one’s poverty to children and structural reasons was related to greater depression, and attributing one’s poverty to romantic relationships and structural reasons was related to greater anxiety. Moreover, attributing one’s poverty to children and romantic relationships was positively related to upward mobility beliefs, whereas individualistic attributions were negatively related to upward mobility beliefs. Understanding how women view their poverty and upward mobility can help to improve interventions and policies aimed at low-income women. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sex Roles Springer Journals

“Why me?”: Low-Income Women’s Poverty Attributions, Mental Health, and Social Class Perceptions

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Psychology; Gender Studies; Sociology, general; Medicine/Public Health, general
ISSN
0360-0025
eISSN
1573-2762
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11199-014-0414-4
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Although much is known about broad societal attitudes toward poverty, less is known about how women perceive their own poverty. We sought to examine the types of self attributions low-income women make about their poverty, as well as the association of self poverty attributions to women’s mental health and upward mobility beliefs. Using close-ended questions in a community sample of 66 low-income mothers from the Midwestern United States, we found these women were most likely to attribute their poverty to issues related to having children, their romantic relationships, and structural/government blame. The least endorsed attributions for poverty were fatalistic and individualistic reasons. Attributing one’s poverty to children and structural reasons was related to greater depression, and attributing one’s poverty to romantic relationships and structural reasons was related to greater anxiety. Moreover, attributing one’s poverty to children and romantic relationships was positively related to upward mobility beliefs, whereas individualistic attributions were negatively related to upward mobility beliefs. Understanding how women view their poverty and upward mobility can help to improve interventions and policies aimed at low-income women.

Journal

Sex RolesSpringer Journals

Published: Sep 12, 2014

References

  • Attributions for poverty: A comparison of middle-class and welfare recipient attitudes
    Bullock, HE
  • Beliefs about poverty and opportunity among Mexican immigrant farm workers
    Bullock, HE; Waugh, IM
  • Attitudes toward the poor and attributions for poverty
    Cozzarelli, C; Wilkinson, AV; Tagler, MJ
  • Attributions for exam performance
    Davis, MH; Stephan, WG

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