Disadvantaged Social Group & Psychological Consequences

What does mean by Disadvantaged?

Disadvantaged implies "denied access to the tools needed for self sufficiency."It is a group phenomenon and people see themselves as disadvantaged to the extent they are denied access to and use of the same tools found useful by the majority of the society.A situation of the disadvantage emerges due to the presence of barriers to self sufficiency. Those barriers are the ways people are denied access to needed tools and include:

  • Unavailability of resources - resources such as employment capital etc may be unavailable in sufficient quantity to certain groups.
  • Inaccessibility of resources : Even if available resources could still be inaccessible to certain groups because of cost,locale or distance,lack of publicity etc.
  • Society's regard for the group : These groups are derided ,unappreciated or devalued by the larger society.
  • Government practices : Institutionalized responses to the plight of certain groups may be inadequate or counterproductive
  • Corporate Practice - The labors or other forms of contributions of some groups may be undervalued in the market place.
  • Conditions of the group - Certain features of the disadvantaged group itself may be hard to access the needed tools.
For e.g. their value system may be hard to accept the tools offered by the larger society. disadvantaged group in society

The economic, physical and socio-cultural consequences produce psychological impact in three areas

1.Cognitive and Perceptual abilities

  • Metamemory and cognition is poor amongst the children of disadvantaged groups because of lack of conducive environment.
  • Study reveals that damaging effects of prolonged deprivation on intelligence of poor children in orphanages. 
  • Cognitive competence is compromised because of lack of reinforcing factors like parents motivation and warmth.

2.Personality and it's co-relates

It is suggested that the existing personality is the function of prevailing social conditions. Lower caste children exhibit higher anxiety and greater insecurity. Also, this leads to culture of poverty, which results in low self-esteem and external locus of control among these groups. Self-concept is poor . Unfavorable attitude of teachers is internalized by the child and then they ascribe themselves to these negative traits.

3.Motivation and it's co-relates

McClelland has suggested people belonging to low socioeconomic strata have low need for achievement. Also there is high need for dependence and low need for extension.It results in over-conformity, excessive fear of failure, aggressive rejection of authority. To bring them into mainstream the interventions have to be made both at home and school level. At home level the effort should be made to bring about the attitudinal orientation in parents as child's aspirations are nothing but an internalized projection of similar aspiration of their parents. The involvement of mothers is particularly important as they have greater interaction with the children and can therefore if trained would be in better position to influence positive values in the children. Parents can be provided incentive for sending their wards to the school and be themselves made to join an adult education program of practical nature to impress upon them the value education. 

School Intervention

  • Once cognitive style is developed and established,it is very difficult to alter.
  • Positive attitude towards education of their children can be major morale booster. This can be done through adult education with practical bias.
  • Habit patterns and and interest areas are well established in early childhood.It is desirable to have conducive learning environment in both school and home.
  • Curriculum should not uproot them from their culture.
  • Peer apathy and segregation in schools on the basis of caste should be discouraged by teachers and parents.
  • Teaching method should focus on igniting the curiosity and intrinsic motivation of the child.
  • Remedial instructions, motivational and aspirational training, provision for counseling can be some other interventions. 

Government Interventions

  • Ensure removal of disparities; eliminate exploitation and suppression and provide protection to the disadvantaged groups.
  • Ensure the developmental benefits to 'Reach the Unreached' through equitable distribution and with social justice.
  • Ensure participation of the Socially Disadvantaged Groups in the process of planning not merely as the beneficiaries but to take part effectively in the formulation of the need based programms/projects their implementation, supervision and monitoring.
  • Accelerate the ongoing process of improving the socio-economic status of the Disadvantaged groups through effective implementation of various policies and programmes and thus bring them on par with the rest of the society.

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