Poverty and perceived stress: Evidence from two unconditional cash transfer programs in Zambia

by Lisa Hjelm, Sudhanshu Handa, Jacobus de Hoop et al.
Social Science & Medicine 177 (2017) pp. 110-117

8 pp. 286 kB

Poverty is a chronic stressor that can lead to poor physical and mental health. This study examines whether two similar government poverty alleviation programs reduced the levels of perceived stress and poverty among poor households in Zambia. The authors conclude that in theory, poverty reduction programs may reduce psychological stress. Experimental evidence from Zambia sheds new light on this hypothesis. Unconditional cash transfers reduce poverty indicators and key stressors. However, they do not lower a standard measure of self-perceived stress. Future research on causal pathways and stress measurement is recommended.

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