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January 28, 2004

Effect of Poverty on Emotional Symptoms in Children

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(4):424. doi:10.1001/jama.291.4.424-a

To the Editor: Dr Costello and colleagues1 reported that children had fewer symptoms of conduct and oppositional defiant disorders ("behavioral symptoms") after an income intervention that moved their families out of poverty, but that anxiety and depression symptoms ("emotional symptoms") were unaffected. After leaving poverty, however, ex-poor children were significantly less likely to have emotional symptoms than while in poverty, and were then no more likely to report emotional symptoms than were children who were never poor. Furthermore, ex-poor children were less likely to have an emotional symptom after leaving poverty than were persistently poor children, but this difference achieved borderline significance (P = .05) and was reported as a negative result.

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