Shame in Poverty and Social Withdrawal


We examine whether a poor financial situation is related to social withdrawal, and whether this is mediated by feelings of shame. We analyze existing data from a Dutch representative sample using a combination of cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. Cross-sectionally, we find that people who are less satisfied with their financial situation are more socially withdrawn than people who are satisfied with their financial situation. This effect is partially mediated by feelings of shame. We model the longitudinal data using a Random Intercept Cross-Lagged Panel Model, so we can tease apart between-person from within-person effects. At a between-person level, people who score their financial situation as worse tend to be more socially withdrawn. At a within-person level, these two variables also negatively influence each other over time: when someone’s financial situation was worse than their personal average in a certain year, they tended to score higher on social withdrawal in the next year. Similarly, more than average social withdrawal in one year predicted a worse than average financial situation in the next year.

Working Paper