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Affluence and Psychological Distress Among Adolescents

Rampage, Cheryl, PhD • February 28, 2008

Ours is the most affluent society in the history of the world, and yet wealth does not protect children from being at risk. Everyone knows someone whose child has seriously faltered, who has fallen into addiction, depression, or a more amorphous sort of “failure to thrive.” Current research shows that affluence itself is a risk factor in adolescent development — not just having money, but how having money can distort values, parenting practices and interpersonal relationships (Levine, 2006).

Cheryl Rampage, Ph.D.

Senior Academic and Clinical Advisor
Clinical Associate Professor

Dr. Rampage is an engaged, active therapist with more than three decades of experience treating individuals, couples and families.

References & Citations

Bograd, K. (2005). Affluent adolescents, depression and drug use: The role of adults in their lives. Adolescence, June 22, 2005.

Kindlon, D. (2001). Too much of a good thing: Raising children of character in an indulgent age. New York: Hyperion.

LeBeau, J. (1988). The ‘Silver Spoon’ syndrome in the super-rich: The pathological linkage of affluence and narcissism in family systems. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 42, 426-436.

Levine, M. (2006). The Price of Privilege. New York: HarperCollins.

Luthar, S.S. (2003). The culture of affluence: Psychological costs of material wealth. Child Development, 74, 1581-1593.

National Public Radio (July 4, 2006). Behind the ever-expanding dream house. Retrieved September 14, 2007 from

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