Effectsof Childhood Poverty on AdulthoodRachelM. BostonSouthUniversity OnlinePSY2022-Human Growth and DevelopmentWeek2, Project 2Dr.Sue CornbluthJanuary28, 2018 AbstractThis paper explores howpoverty affects how a child develops, how it affects their health duringadulthood and interventions on how to ease the poverty epidemic. The readingfor this week explored how development can be affected by childhood.

Additionally, Paul H. Wise’s journal article exploredhow poverty during childhood affects health in adulthood and different ways tohelp fix this trend. Finally, there is hope for those dealing with povertyduring childhood, as was reviewed in the journal article by Kristin Schubertand James Marks. They suggested how different interventions can help ease thosesuffering from low-income.    Effectsof Childhood Poverty on Adulthood            According to the National Center for Children in Povertyabout 15 million children in the United States – 21% of all children – live infamilies with incomes below the federal poverty threshold. Experiencing life in poverty can have lasting effects on a person.

There are many factorsthat may lead to a person living in poverty. Below the effect of childhood poverty regarding different aspects ofdevelopment, how living in poverty during childhood affects health outcomes andexplore some interventions to help ease the expanding number of children livingin poverty conditions.            A person’s socioeconomic status influences how anindividual develops. The child’s caregiver plays a large role in the child’sdevelopment. Nutrition is a necessity to develop appropriately and “caregiverswho are not sensitive to developmental changes in infants’ nutritional needs,neglectful caregivers, and conditions of poverty can contribute to thedevelopment of eating problems in infants” (Santrock, 2016). A lack of interestin the proper nutrition of a child canlead to either obesity or a malnourished child, both having their own long-termeffects on the child’s health. The child’s caregiver may have a diminishedinterest in the child’s developmental needs due to constantly being away fromthe child at work to earn money to provide additional necessities. A lack ofpresence by a caregiver can delay speech development as they are not receivingneeded communication interaction.

Child’s cognitive development may also sufferas they have no or poor references on how to deal with stress. Often, it is notintentional, but the caregiver is doing the best they can to continue toprovide for the child. Poverty is a leading factor to children beingmalnourished; “one of the most common nutritional problems in early childhoodis iron deficiency anemia, which results in chronic fatigue” (Santrock, 2016).Due to a constant feeling of being tiredthese children may not be getting the amount of exercise they need to keep uptheir physical stature. “The poor often experience hunger, malnutrition,illness, inadequate access to health care, unsafe water, and a lack ofprotection from harm” (Santrock, 2016) which all can lead to health concernslater in life.            A child’s experience during their early years of life”can influence patterns of illness, aging, and mortality later in life (Wise,2016). Studies have been completed that link childhood socioeconomic status andmental health later in life. During the early years of life, “social isolation and bullyingduring childhood can also affect the risk for adult depression and relateddisorders” (Wise, 2016).

What we experience as children influence how we actand behave as adults. Many adults that have problems can relate the onset tosomething from their past. Events often found in families in poverty that caninfluence adulthood behaviors to includeparental maltreatment, parental divorce, problems with early attachment, andsubstance abuse (Wise, 2016). Being exposed to not so great living conditionsof the less fortunate can cause changes in immunology due to the environmentalcontamination they were exposed to, which could lead to asthma or otherendocrine issues. There are “approximately 30% of all children have some formof a chronic health problem;approximately 15% require an increased use of health care services andapproximately 7.5% have a condition that limits usual activities” (Wise, 2016)that follow the individual into adulthood. This increase of children with morechronic diseases following them into adulthood has led to a change in healthcare and how we look atprevention or treatment during childhood.            As a nation, weshould not give up hope on our future generation, as there are interventions wecan put in place to help ease their tribulations.

Schubert & Jamesmentioned a few interventions to include “medical coverage, SupplementalNutrition Assistance Program benefits, and subsidized housing, can directlymitigate and reduce poverty” (2016). However, the problem with some of theseprograms is that if a family or individual relieson or needs these programs earn slightly more than the requirement thenthey become ineligible even though they are still in need. Another suggestionwould be frequent coaching and counseling for those who may be suffering frominadequate housing, food insecurity, and money (Schubert & James, 2016).Having someone that continually shows compassion and care about their wellbeingcan help that person feel more confident and hopeful about the futurepossibilities. A major gap in creating a shift in downsizing the childhoodpoverty epidemic is that the parents or caregivers do not have the resourcesnecessary to do so. To transform poverty’s influence in early life into adulthealth problems they would need access to effective interventions. There hasbeen a positive step forward by the federal government, with Project HeadStart, which helps kids in low-income families gain the skills needed to havethe right foot forward in school (Santrock, 2015)            There may be many children currently living in poverty,but that doesn’t need to hold them back. A person’s past will always influencehow they are as an adult, but for those who started in poverty with theassistance of some interventions can turn their futures around.

How a childliving in poverty develops does not have to stop them from breaking the cycle,there are ways that poverty will influence their health as an adult, but there are also programs and interventionsto help change the outcome. Schubert and James said it best with “our future asa nation is tied to the success of these children. We need to make sure thatall children have the opportunity to succeed, and children whose familycircumstances are more challenging need more help” (2016).  ReferencesGranja, M.

R., Jiang, Y., & Koball, H.(2017, January 25). Basic Facts about Low-Income Children. Retrieved January28, 2018, from http://www.

nccp.org/publications/pub_1170.htmlSantrock, J.(07/2015). Life-Span Development, 15thEdition. SouthUniversity. Retrieved January 22, 2018, from https://digitalbookshelf.

southuniversity.edu/#/books/1259878252/Schubert, K. B., & Marks, J.

S. (2016). TheCost of Poverty and the Value of Hope. AcademicPediatrics,16(3),S21-22. doi:10.

1016/j.acap.2016.02.012Wise, P. H. (2016).

Child Poverty and thePromise of Human Capacity: Childhood as a Foundation for Healthy Aging. Academic Pediatrics,16(3), S37-S45. doi:10.1016/j.acap.2016.01.014 


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