Psychosocial Causes of Beggary and its Psychological Implications

Author: Faiza Rasool

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Rukhsana Kausar

Degree: M.phil

Year: 2010-2012

University: Institute of Applied Psychology, Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan


The current research is carried out in three studies. Study I intended to explore the psychosocial reasons of beggary using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Exploratory research design was employed. The sample comprised of 15 (men = 6, women = 9) beggars. Data were collected through a self-constructed open ended questionnaire enquiring about the psychosocial reasons, effects of beggary as well as modes of begging behavior. Poverty, unemployment and lacks of professional skills were reported to be the major social causes. Old age, physical disability and serious diseases were reported to be the major biological causes of beggary. Psychological causes of beggary included feelings of worthless, lack of self-respect, and feelings of insecurity about their future. Modes of begging included the sentimental mode, religion mode, selling cheap goods, and group form mode. People attitude towards beggars included positive i.e. sympathy, kindness, support and negative i.e. hatred, disregard, and verbal abuses. The solutions of beggary offered by the beggars included: Government to take steps to eradicate poverty, children’s responsibility towards their elderly parents and provision of financial. The second study aimed to investigate the modes of begging. The non-participant observations of 20 beggars at different areas included parks, markets, traffic signals and bus stops of different areas of Lahore were conducted. Majority of the beggars used mode of group form, disease and physical handicap (n = 5). Other modes were religious appeals (n = 3) begging in disguise of selling cheap goods (n = 3), and some unusual gestures to get attracted (n = 2). It was observed that some beggars seemed satisfied as were given money while other seemed disappointed and cursed the people for not giving them money. Study III aimed to investigate psychological implication of beggary. It was hypothesized that: beggars are likely to have low self image, low self-esteem, feelings of guilt and shame; beggars are likely to have gender difference in shame, guilt, self-image and self-esteem, shame, guilt and self-image will predict self-esteem of the beggars. Within group research design was used. The sample of 80 beggars (men= 42, women = 38) was drawn by using purposive sampling strategy. A demographic sheet, Persona State Shame and Guilt Scale (SGSS) (Marschall, Sanftner, Tangney, 1994), and Self Image Profile for Adults (SIP-Adult) (Butler & Gasson, 2004) was used for assessment. Scales were translated into Urdu language by using MAPI guidelines for translation. The analysis showed that majority of the male beggars reported physical reasons while majority of the female beggars reported it profession. It is revealed that majority of the male beggars had low self- image while they had high self-esteem. On the other hand majority of the female beggars reported low self-esteem as well low self-image. Contradictory no significant gender differences were found in all variable under study. Self-esteem had negative relationship with self-image it had significant positive relationship with shame and guilt. Moreover, consideration, moral, and social image, shame and guilt predicted self- esteem in a negative way while physical, outlook, and competence were predicted it in positive way. The findings hold implications for the policy makers, Government, mental health professionals and sociologist for minimizing beggary in the Pakistani Culture.

Keywords: Beggary, Self-Esteem, Self-Image, Shame, Guilt, Psychosocial Causes.

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Corresponding Address: Department of Applied Psychology, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan. Email:, Phone: 92-42-9231245

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