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Primary research questions:

1. Is poverty related to risk for MI?

2. Directionality: Which comes first?

3. What factors explain the relationship?

Defining poverty

Typically includes education,
job status and/or income...

but may be defined by zip code,
number of electrical appliances,
access to tap water, etc.

Is poverty related to risk for MI?

Yes - on average, about 3X more MI
in low-SES communities in U.S. and

Does this mean poverty leads to
mental illness?

No - "poverty presents risk factors that
may exacerbate mental illness"

Directionality: Which comes first?

It's complicated, and bi-directional

Poverty has been shown

to come first in decades of research

Hudson's (2005) large scale study

Developmental literature emphasizes

the accumulation of risk factors before MI is present

What explains the relationship?

Insecurity (lack of stability and
continuation of livelihood, lack of safety)


Social factors (weakening family ties, lack
of social support, etc.)

Lack of education
Risks of violence and health problems

Is high SES a risk factor?

Research is preliminary, but several studies have linked high affluence in teens to risk for:
substance abuse

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