UW-Madison’s Mindi Thompson and the College of New Jersey’s Jason J. Dahling co-authored a report that was published in the flagship American Psychological Association journal’s special issue on poverty.
Thompson is an associate professor with the School of Education’s Department of Counseling Psychology, and an affiliate with the Institute for Research on Poverty and the Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions. She serves as the clinical training director of the Ph.D. program in health service psychology and directs the Work and Wellness Lab.
The article in the American Psychologist, titled “Employment and poverty: Why work matters in understanding poverty,” synthesizes the work-related dynamics that contribute to economic inequality and identifies ways for psychologists to offer their expertise to mitigate poverty through employment and re-employment.
The authors integrate research on the psychology of seeking, holding, and losing work to highlight how psychology can contribute to the alleviation of poverty. Thompson was particularly interested in contributing to the “Special Section on Psychology’s Contributions to Understanding and Alleviating Poverty and Economic Inequality” because of her desire to draw attention to the often overlooked connections between work and poverty. She hopes that this analysis will reach a broad audience and encourage psychologists to leverage their skills and expertise to mitigate poverty by understanding work-related dynamics in their research, practice, and public advocacy.
Thompson and Dahling organize their synthesis around four themes that concern the relationships between work, economic inequality, and poverty. First, unemployment has devastating financial and psychological consequences for individuals, families, and communities. Second, re-employment is challenging to acquire but crucial to escaping poverty. Third, systematic and societal factors shape and constrain employment processes. Fourth, the nature of employment is changing because of technological advances, growth in the contingent labor force, and globalized business relationships that introduce new concerns.
Learn about purchasing the article here.