Wider social and environmental influences Poverty and social disadvantage

Poverty and social disadvantage are most strongly associated with deficits in children's cognitive skills and educational achievements. (1J In the behavioural domain, disruptive behaviours also show links with family poverty. Effects appear to be more marked for boys than for girls, and seem to be stronger in childhood than in adolescence. Intermittent hardship is associated with some increased risk for conduct problems, but the impact is most marked for children in families facing persistent economic stress. Most current evidence suggests that these effects are indirect. Poverty imposes stress on parents, and reduces the supports available to them; these in turn increase the risks of harsh or coercive parenting, and reduce parents' emotional availability to their children's needs. Some studies suggest that relative deprivation—the perception that one is disadvantaged by comparison with others—may be more important than income levels perse.

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