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The Environment of Childhood Poverty

Gary W. Evans, PhD
Elizabeth Lee Vincent Professor of Human Ecology, Cornell University

There is a general perception that environmental factors play a major role in the physical and mental development of children. According to Dr. Gary Evans, social inequalities in society shape mental health. He discusses the correlational relationship between poverty and various factors such as quality of housing, parental education, physical health, income, and divorce rates. Children from impoverished homes are spoken to and read to significantly less in their infancy in comparison to infants from other social economic statuses. He notes the negative correlation between parental social status and child’s amygdala activation. Dr. Evans uses this evidence to support his argument that physical and environmental factors are co-influences on the development and well-being children.


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