Treating poverty in America: Psychology's inadequate response and recommendations for future action

Connie L. Blizzard (2008)

As the number of impoverished Americans grows, insufficient work on the public policy-level is being conducted to counter this trend, particularly by psychologists who are uniquely equipped to take on this social problem. In this dissertation, I evaluated the trends in the psychological research on poverty, examined the organizational politics within the American Psychological Association, and reviewed their recent public policy advocacy efforts. I found that psychological research has stalled, and the politics within the field of psychology contribute to uncertainty about psychology's role in addressing poverty with negative effects on advocacy and public policy. Psychologists need to recognize poverty as within the scope of their practice, while clarifying the definition of poverty and working to counter stereotypes about the poor.