APA Addresses Socioeconomic Status in Statement to U.S. Senate

On September 27, PI-GRO submitted a statement to the United States Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging on the effects of poverty on health. The statement outlined how psychology is working to explain the mechanisms by which socioeconomic status (SES) affects mental and behavioral health. Smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise are examples of health behaviors that psychologists address. The prevalence of these behavioral risk factors, which significantly predict premature mortality, increase as an individual’s SES decreases. SES can also affects family stability, including parenting practices and resulting developmental outcomes for children.

APA’s statement conveyed the critical need to prevent long-term unemployment and poverty through: the expansion of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program; job training and reemployment programs; and additional research on the psychological effects of unemployment.