‘New poverty’, an urban type of poverty mainly affecting the middle class, has increased dramatically over the past five years in Greece following the 2007-2008 economic crisis and the strict austerity measures which were adopted. Focusing on subjective experience and meaning making, this study aims to illuminate how ‘new poverty’ is experienced and given meaning by two individuals living in the wider metropolitan area of Athens. Participants’ accounts were elicited through in-depth, semi-structured interviews and analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Three overarching themes were identified: the impact of poverty on participants’ lives, the perceived causes of ‘new poverty’ and coping strategies. Participants focused on the all-pervasive nature of poverty and its impact on their physical and psychological well-being. They mainly identified the cause of poverty to be associated with socioeconomic factors, favouring economic/structural explanations. Ways of coping with poverty included receiving financial assistance from parents and engaging in social comparisons. The findings are discussed in relation to extant literature.
Department of Psychology, University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, England.
University of Western Macedonia, Greece.
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