Background: In the last decades, different studies have addressed the perspectives of people regarding the causes of poverty, as they could play a fundamental role in the development of individual and social attitudes, beliefs and expectations towards people living in such a condition, and in the strategies implemented to solve related problems and issues (Babjaková et al., 2019). In addition, many of those studies have investigated the causes of poverty using the theoretical model proposed by Feagin (1972), which suggests three broad explanations: (1) Individualistic (i.e., causal attribution is placed on the poor themselves); (2) structural (i.e., poverty is due to external social and economic factors), and (3) fatalistic (i.e., poverty is attributed to factors such as bad luck). In addition, most of those studies have been carried out considering the causes of poverty in general, what means that there are very few studies (Dunga & Makalima, 2016) aimed at studying specifically the causes of child poverty. Given the high incidence of poverty in Argentina (INDEC, 2020), an area of ??social priority for our community, and of scientific concern for generating basic and applied knowledge, we proposed to study attributions of the causes of poverty in general, as well as of child poverty.
Objective: The present study proposes to determine the psychometric properties of two questionnaires aimed at exploring the causal attributions of general and child poverty by adults from different districts in Argentina.
Methods: A virtual questionnaire was implemented in the Google Form platform in September 2018. Recruitment was done through a flyer disseminated on social networks that gave access to a page with a description of the study and a consent check box (procedures were approved by the IRB). Participants: The sample included responses from 1659 citizens of Argentina from 17 to 90 years old (M = 45.72, SD = 16.94). Instrument: The questionnaire included 32 items aimed at evaluating the attribution of causes of general poverty, and 30 items of child poverty. Participants were asked to indicate the importance of each item as a cause of poverty on a five-point Likert-type scale (1=does not matter; 5=extremely important). Analytical plan: We conducted exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses (separately from the general and child questionnaires) and retained items with factor loadings at or above .40. In addition, for the general questionnaire, a second approach was implemented to analyze if the factorial structure supported by different studies in the literature was confirmed in this sample. For such a purpose, confirmatory factor analyses were implemented.
Results: The results of the first approach about causal attributions of general poverty suggest a model of three factors in the exploratory analysis, which fits with those proposed in the literature (RMSEA=0.071; CFI= 0.94; TLI=0.93). Nevertheless, this model was not confirmed (RMSEA=0.103; CFI= 0.88; TLI=0.86). On the other hand, the results of the second approach suggest the confirmation of the two-factor model proposed in the literature (RMSEA=0.083; CFI=0.96; TLI=0.95). In the case of the causal attributions of child poverty, the results suggest a two-factor structure in the exploratory analysis, which was confirmed with adequate psychometric properties (RMSEA=0.074; CFI=0.94; TLI=0.93).
Conclusions: Regarding the questionnaire for the attribution of causes of poverty in adults -which included items already used in the literature and new ones-, the exploratory analysis allowed identifying a three-factor structure as in the case of other studies. However, the non-confirmation of the model suggests sensitivity to the inclusion of new items. In this sense, in future studies it would be important to invest efforts in determining new items from consultations with experts and other social actors. Regarding the questionnaire for the attribution of causes of poverty in children, the identification and confirmation of a two-factor model is a new piece of evidence in the field, which suggests variability in the attribution of causes of poverty by adults according to the considered age group, and whose potential internal and external mechanisms in comparison with the studies on adult poverty should be explored in future studies. Finally, this study confirm that having valid and reliable instruments to explore the causal attributions of general and child poverty would be important to advance in the understanding of poverty as a complex and multidimensional phenomena.
Poster presentado en SRCD 2021 Biennial Meeting.