Privation is the absence or lack of basic necessities.[1]

Child psychology

In child psychology, privation occurs when a child has no opportunity to form a relationship with a parent figure, or when such relationship is distorted, due to their treatment.[2] It is different to deprivation, which occurs when an established relationship is severed.[3] It is understood that privation can produce social, emotional and intellectual problems for children; however, how inevitable such problems become as a result of privation, and the extent to which they can be reversed, remains an issue of debate among psychologists.[4]


In philosophy, privation may refer to the absence of a necessary quality in the universe.[citation needed][5]

For example, as part of his theodicy, Augustine denied the existence of evil as its own entity; rather, he described evil as a privation, or going wrong, of good, privatio boni.[6]

Jewish philosopher Maimonides argued that privation is not necessarily a bad thing: it would be trivial to regard the privation of hair – baldness – as an evil.


  1. ^ "The Free Dictionary – Privation". Retrieved 10 September 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Russell, Julia; Jarvis, Matt (2003). Angles on Applied Psychology. Nelson Thornes. p. 219. ISBN 978-0-7487-7259-9.
  3. ^ Brain, Christine; Mukherji, Penny (2005). Understanding child psychology (New ed.). Nelson Thornes. pp. 44–45. ISBN 978-0-7487-9084-5.
  4. ^ Jarvis, Matt; Chandler, Emma (2001). Angles on Child Psychology. Nelson Thornes. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-7487-5975-0.
  5. ^ Mahoney, W. B. (2003). Privation (Philosophy). In New Catholic Encyclopedia (2nd ed., Vol. 11, pp. 722-724). Detroit, MI: Gale. Retrieved from
  6. ^ Menn, Stephen (2002). Descartes and Augustine. Cambridge University Press. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-521-01284-3.