Is relative deprivation beneficial? the effects of richer and poorer neighbors on children's outcomes
Article first published online: 18 SEP 2002
Copyright © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Community Psychology
Volume 30, Issue 6, pages 671–686, November 2002
How to Cite
Turley, R. N. L. (2002), Is relative deprivation beneficial? the effects of richer and poorer neighbors on children's outcomes. J. Community Psychol., 30: 671–686. doi: 10.1002/jcop.10033
- Issue published online: 18 SEP 2002
- Article first published online: 18 SEP 2002
- National Science Foundation. Grant Number: DGE-98070661
This study investigates the effects of a child's family income relative to the income of his or her neighbors. Relative deprivation theory predicts that having less than others in your reference group leads to negative psychological and behavioral outcomes. In contrast, theories of neighborhood resources predict that affluent neighbors are a valuable asset for children, even if such neighbors make children feel deprived. I define relative advantage as the income gap between children and their lower-income neighbors and find that it has no effect on their test scores, self-esteem, or behavior. In contrast, relative disadvantage (the income gap between children and their higher-income neighbors) has a positive and significant effect on these outcomes, including self-esteem. This analysis distinguishes between the number of higher-income families and the magnitude of their income advantage, and it addresses the potential influence of selection bias. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.