Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Poor little rich kids

A new blog 'Cognitive Daily' has a post on the relationship between happiness and wealth: according to the reported research, rich children are unhappier, have weaker emotional ties, and lower self esteem. I think it's a complex area - material deprivation isn't trivial, having enough to eat is important, being considered inferior by society at large does have an effect. But at the same time, I can see how emotionally stunted some middle class families are. I think it's wrong for affection to be conditional on achievement. I think it's good for people to just hang out together, and not have scheduled activities all the time. Homes that are very tidy always worry me - do people live in them?

'Wealthier, predominantly white suburban kids had higher rates of anxiety, depression, and substance use than predominantly poor, minority inner-city kids. While there is still relatively little research on the subject, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi did find in 2000 that there was an inverse correlation between socio-economic status and “emotional well-being”: poor kids were happier than rich kids, and a few other studies conducted in the 1980s and 1990s corroborate Luthar’s research on drug use and affluence. A national survey of teens found that 75 percent of kids from families with incomes below $15,000 felt emotionally “close” to their mothers, while only 65 percent of kids from families with incomes above $75,000 felt the same way.

'Luthar also argues that case-study evidence supports her claim: wealthier kids are so overscheduled that they don’t have time for normal adolescent activities like developing friendships and just “hanging out.” Further, there is so much pressure on affluent kids to succeed that they succumb to stress-related disorders such as insomnia, headaches, anxiety, and depression.

'What is the root of all these problems for affluent kids? Luthar points to their parents. People with “Yuppy” values are twice as likely to report unhappiness as others. Wealthy communities are less likely to foster close friendships among the people living there than other communities.'
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