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lumberjack_jeff

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Olympia, WA
Member since: Tue Nov 4, 2003, 09:02 PM
Number of posts: 33,224

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Sometimes ‘poor little rich kids’ really are poor little rich kids

Wealth inequality is a massive social problem. Not only for the poor but also for the rich.

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2016/01/05/sometimes-poor-little-rich-kids-really-are-poor-little-rich-kids/

The “affluenza” defense of Ethan Couch, a 16-year-old Texas boy who killed four pedestrians while driving drunk, has received a great deal of ridicule, much of it justified. That said, it would be foolish to allow an absurd effort to minimize one teenager’s responsibility for a horrific tragedy to obscure growing evidence that we have a significant and growing crisis on our hands. The children of the affluent are becoming increasingly troubled, reckless, and self-destructive. Perhaps we needn’t feel sorry for these “poor little rich kids.” But if we don’t do something about their problems, they will become everyone’s problems.

One of us has spent about 20 years studying and documenting the growth of dysfunction among affluent youth, and the other has written about one large source of the problem. High-risk behavior, including extreme substance abuse and promiscuous sex, is growing fast among young people from communities dominated by white-collar, well-educated parents. These kids attend schools distinguished by rich academic curricula, high standardized test scores, and diverse extracurricular opportunities. Their parents’ annual income, at $150,000 and more, is well over twice the national average. And yet they show serious levels of maladjustment as teens, displaying problems that tend to begin as they enter adolescence and get worse as they approach college.

What kinds of problems? First, marijuana and alcohol abuse, including binge drinking. Studies show that drug and alcohol use is higher among affluent teens than their inner-city counterparts. And surveys have revealed that full-time college students are two and a half times more likely to experience substance abuse or dependence than members of the general population. Half of all full-time college students reported binge drinking and abuse of illegal or prescription drugs.
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Finally, there is a psychological toll. The proportion of affluent youth indicating serious levels of depression or anxiety is two to three times national rates, and levels of eating disorders and self-injurious behaviors far exceed national averages.
Posted by lumberjack_jeff | Wed Jan 6, 2016, 04:39 PM (6 replies)
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