Article Title

Poverty Simulation


Wilder, Kristie


The School of Social Work at Southern Adventist University has been working alongside the Chattanooga Police Department studying the interactions between police and the communities they serve. This research has led to the question of how law enforcement officers (in Chattanooga) are treating impoverished people of color. Literature suggests that there are not any evidence based interventions to improve the way professionals treat individuals in such circumstances, especially in the law enforcement industry. In a few instances, poverty simulations have been shown to build more empathy and understanding for individuals. The School of Social Work has conducted three simulations that have provided data to aid in understanding the change of perception for those working with impoverished individuals overall, with an emphasis to people of color. Methods: Researchers conducted a pre-assessment with a quantitative survey and qualitative survey and a post-survey with a replica of the same questions on the quantitative survey and a question regarding change for the qualitative questions. Measurements: The quantitative data was entered into the most current SPSS licensure system. Qualitative data was coded based on popular themes for each question and assessed for common responses among different professions. Results: The results suggest that the poverty simulation can contribute quality understanding and greater empathy in law enforcement, social workers, and community members working with impoverished individuals and people of color. Conclusions: The poverty simulation can be an effective intervention, particularly useful for those working within the helping professions, to gain a better understanding of the realities and impediments for individuals living in poverty or living in low-income areas.