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Interamerican Journal of Psychology

Print version ISSN 0034-9690


OROS, Laura. The adaptive value of positive affect: a look at children’s psychological behaviour under extreme poverty. Interam. j. psychol. [online]. 2009, vol.43, n.2, pp. 288-296. ISSN 0034-9690.

Poverty exposes children to a series of risk factors which threaten their quality of life and psychological functioning. Empirical evidence suggests that children who grow and develop in extreme poverty are more emotionally fragile, their intellectual performance is poorer, and have lower grades. However, potential damage due to extreme poverty is not inevitable nor irreversible. There are also protective factors which buffer the impact of different kinds of needs to which these children are exposed. Positive affect can counteract and even prevent harmful effects of living in extreme poverty. The purpose of our study is to examine four arguments on the importance and usefulness of promoting positive affect. These emotions optimize the way children function because (a) they encourage a healthier perspective on problems as well as (b) healthier coping skills, (c) they increase cognitive aspects which help prevent academic failure, and (d) they foster a more tolerant and persistent attitude when coping with frustration.

Keywords : Positive affect; Childhood; Extreme poverty; Intervention.

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