A Study Has Determined That Being Poor Causes Physical Pain

poverty poverty

There’s an intrinsic link between the two variables apparently.

Not having a job, not having any money and being forced to live in poverty is obviously going to affect anyone experiencing it psychologically, but it’s now being claimed in a new study that it can actually lead to physical pain as well.

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The study examined six previous studies in order to come to this conclusion. Five of them determined that economic instability led to symptoms of physical pain through examining empirical evidence and drawing links, whilst the sixth examined 32,000 households in the United States and determined that economic instability led to a higher consumption of over the counter painkillers.

This might sound ridiculous to begin with, but other studies have noted that the psychological pain and physical pain shares similar pathways to the brain. Several studies have also claimed that being in a state of poverty psychologically compromises us and this could lead to physical pain as well through these neural pathways. A psychologist named Eldar Shafir from Princeton University explains the link:


The results of these studies have lead researchers to argue being in a state of poverty or financial instability psychologically compromises us.

It’s known in psychology as the “scarcity mentality,” which is about the perception that separates the haves and the have-nots.

When someone is in a constant state of worry about where their next meal is coming from, mental bandwidth becomes compromised, causing people to make unwise decisions.

Our effects correspond to between 13 and 14 IQ points – that’s comparable to losing a night’s sleep or the effects of alcoholism, both of which obviously greatly affect your health.

This could then lead to an increase in problems such as chronic joint pain, limb pain, back pain, and gastrointestinal problems – physical pain.

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Yeah, whilst I take the point that being poor and unstable would lead to psychological worry and fear, I’m not really sure if that can translate over into actually physically hurting you as well. Still, you can’t argue with the empirical evidence so they probably just need to do some more investigation into it before this can be claimed as fact, as with most academia. To be fair, these guys are probably the top of their field too and I don’t know anything about it, so maybe we should listen to them about these things – it just seems like a tenuous link from how he explained it.

For more poverty, check out these images from the poverty stricken UK in the 1960s. Grim.


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