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Why are the poor always with us? Explanations for poverty in Britain

Furnham, A; (1982) Why are the poor always with us? Explanations for poverty in Britain. British Journal of Social Psychology , 21 (4) pp. 311-322. 10.1111/j.2044-8309.1982.tb00553.x.

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Abstract

Psychological studies on poverty have taken two forms: an investigation into the psychological processes characteristic of the poor, and the nature and range of lay explanations for poverty. This study concerns aspects of the latter research area from an attribution theory viewpoint. Previous research in America and Australia has indicated that people tend to attribute poverty to societal influences, personal responsibility and personal misfortune, and that various demographic factors are associated with different patterns of explanations of poverty. Sex differences and voting patterns were investigated in the explanation of poverty in general, and also among certain groups in particular, which were distinguished by race and class. Voting pattern but not sex differences led to a clearly different and predicted pattern of explanations arising. Conservatives found individualistic explanations for poverty more important than Labour voters, who in turn found societal explanations more important than did Conservatives. Fatalistic explanations showed no difference between groups and were not rated as important in explaining poverty. Results were discussed in terms of the psychology of explanations; political socialization and implications for education were also noted. The limitations and difficulties in research of this kind were discussed. 1982 The British Psychological Society

Type: Article
Title: Why are the poor always with us? Explanations for poverty in Britain
DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-8309.1982.tb00553.x
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1385620
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