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Poverty and Psychology


  • Olga V. Poluektova

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

  • Maria V. Efremova

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

  • Seger M. Breugelmans

    () (Tilburg University)


This paper presents a study on the association between dimensions of poverty (income, subjective socioeconomic status, deprivation, and socioeconomic status in childhood) and individual psychological characteristics. In this study, our goal was to determine: 1) the differences in individual psychological characteristics between poor and non-poor people; 2) the effect of each dimension, or indicator, of poverty on individual psychological characteristics (self-esteem, life satisfaction, trust, self-efficacy, self-control, dispositional greed, and individual values); and 3) the relationship between each indicator of poverty and each individual psychological characteristic. We collected data from 157 poor (those whose incomes fall below the poverty threshold) and 140 non-poor (those whose incomes exceed the poverty threshold) participants from Moscow and the greater Moscow region by administering questionnaires containing measures of individual psychological characteristics and poverty. We analyzed the data using multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA), and part and partial correlation analysis. The results obtained revealed that poverty had significant multivariate effects on individual psychological characteristics (univariate effects were significant for self-esteem, life satisfaction, Self-Transcendence values, and trust); in addition, all indicators of poverty except income had significant multivariate effects on individual psychological characteristics. Furthermore, subjective socioeconomic status was positively associated with life satisfaction, self-esteem, self-transcendence values, and trust; deprivation was positively associated with greed and self-enhancement values, and negatively associated with life satisfaction and self-esteem; socioeconomic status in childhood was positively associated with greed, self-enhancement values, life satisfaction and self-efficacy.

Suggested Citation

  • Olga V. Poluektova & Maria V. Efremova & Seger M. Breugelmans, 2015. "Poverty and Psychology," HSE Working papers WP BRP 49/PSY/2015, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:49psy2015

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    Cited by:

    1. Seuntjens, Terri G. & van de Ven, Niels & Zeelenberg, Marcel & van der Schors, Anna, 2016. "Greed and adolescent financial behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 1-12.

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    poverty; subjective socioeconomic status; relative deprivation; socioeconomic status in childhood; individual psychological characteristics;

    JEL classification:

    • Z - Other Special Topics

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