Cultural deprivation may be equated with a lack of education or the loss of cultural heritage. The adverse effects of the former include inequality of opportunity and other inequalities stemming from this, apart from a general lack of social development and lack of individual development. The latter may lead to social and ethnic disintegration.
Cultural deprivation in the educative sense may be caused by poverty and a general underprivileged environment which is not conducive to a child's development or to his or her gaining the most from the educational system (which may in any case, be deficient for these groups). It may also be caused by handicaps such as reading disabilities. In the purely cultural sense deprivation may be caused by a lack of emphasis on culture in educational policy which may direct studies away from the arts or philosophy to purely technical training. Cultural deprivation in the sense of loss of cultural heritage may be caused by a deliberate policy of forced assimilation to suppress a minority culture or by an educational policy which gives inadequate attention to the cultural heritage of minorities, not seeking to integrate them fully into society.
Living typically in bad conditions (hygiene, heating, running water), and in combination with unhealthy way of life (irregular sleep, alcohol, cigarettes, etc.), Gypsies in the former socialist countries of Eastern Europe are physically more vulnerable than other groups of inhabitants. Poor health condition and short life expectancy are common results. Moreover, there is a lot of concern about the mental health of many Roma, especially of the children that are growing up in such conditions. Gypsy children are generally considered as educationally neglected - they are left unattended and often also without basic needs for life. Lagging behind in the mental development is one of the most visible sign of that. This lagging behind is clearly socially conditioned and sometimes it is regarded as pseudo-oligophrenia. It should get proper attention, because as shown by longitudinal researches, this sort of mental retardation tends to come close to the normal state in improved social conditions. Educational negligence conditions also somatic retardation, for bad hygiene habits and way of life decrease the general immunity of the body and raises the predisposition to illnesses, with all the negative consequences. Such illnesses most often include kidney, lungs, urocyst diseases and rachitis.