Many women blame poverty on failed relationships

Posted on October 17, 2014

Researchers discovered having children early in life and a troubled romantic relationship are the two most frequently cited reasons when low-income mothers are asked about why they find themselves in poverty.

The researchers believe a woman’s perception of the factors that predisposed poverty will also influence her mental health. Importantly, such answers can also provide clues to whether the woman believes she will ever rise out of poverty.

The researchers found that women who attributed their poverty to having had children tended to suffer greater levels of depression, possibly because they feel some sense of guilt, blame, or helplessness. Women who attributed their poverty to problems in their romantic relationships experienced more anxiety.

Investigators believe the anxiety may stem from a sense of fear, or lack of control. Common control issues include domestic violence, poor spending habits of their partners, or failure to receive child support.

Women who “shook their fists” at the government, or blamed discriminatory practices such as unequal pay to women, suffered both greater depression and anxiety. Only a few blamed fate for their situation.

By understanding how women answer the question of who or what is to blame for their current financial situation, researchers believe that they can begin to develop more effective interventions and policies.

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Source material from Psych Central