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Unformatted text preview: s is the single most important factor in accounting for the lower achievement of children in single-parent families. It accounts for half of the difference in educational achievement, weak labor force attachment, and early childbearing." Not surprisingly, parents in these families suffer more emotionally and are more anxious about their children's future than better-off parents. Poor families are more likely to disintegrate and become single-parent households, and single parents, in turn, are less likely to engage in "good" parenting practices. Even allowing for the problems of official reporting, the highest incidence of child neglect and abuse and the most severe injuries to children occur in the poorest families. Economic instability and hardship and social stress among adults is related to marital conflict and harsh and inconsistent punishment, rejection, and noninvolvement. Brain dysfunction, caused by exposure to lead, injuries from abuse, or mothers' substance abuse - all highly correlated with poverty - interfere with language and cognitive development, resulting in learning and social problems at school. Early school failure, in turn, is one of the strongest predictors of adolescent problems, including violent behavior. It is not surprising that children growing up in poor families are more likely to suffer from poor physical and mental health problems, do poorly at school, and compromise successful development by early sex, pregnancy, substance abuse, delinquency, and crime. Maldistribution of wealth exacerbates resource scarcity, causing conflict Thomas F. Homer-Dixon, Director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at the University of Toronto, Environment, Scarcity and Violence, 1999, p.15
Finally, scarcity is often caused by a severe imbalance in the distribution of wealth and power that results in some groups in a society getting disproportionately large slices of the resource pie, whereas, others get slices that are too small to sustain their livelihoods. Such une...
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This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.
- Fall '13