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Using psychology to tackle poverty and improve outcomes for children - Challenge Poverty Week in Scotland

06 October 2020

This week sees Challenge Poverty Week take place in Scotland, a week of action where organisations unite against poverty. In support, we’re shining a spotlight on the work of our Senate priority campaign, Poverty to Flourishing.

Edward Sosu is a member of our Poverty to Flourishing Expert Reference Group, and is Reader and Research Director in the School of Education at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

He tells us how his research is helping to understand how poverty can lead to the emergence of childhood behavioural problems, and the impact of poverty stigma in Scotland:

“Understanding how and why poverty affects developmental outcomes across the lifespan is one of the key unanswered questions in the efforts to improve long-term outcomes for children and young people.

This information is vital in guiding us on the kinds of interventions and support we should put in place in order to improve long-term outcomes for children and young people growing up in poverty.

For instance, in my own research, we have shown how poverty in Scotland leads to emergence of childhood conduct problems through parental stress and ability to invest in children’s education.

That study tells us that if we help families to overcome financial stress, we will not only alleviate parental stress but also improve children’s behavioural and attainment outcomes.

In another recent study, colleagues and I highlighted the importance of addressing poverty stigma in society and especially in public services that support families living in poverty.

We want to change the conversation and help end the stigma of living on a low income.”

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