Although Dr. Levine makes it very clear in her book that she is not talking about rich kids, it is clear that she is talking about the upper middle class. As a teacher in the Midwest, I find that many of the high school kids I teach are troubled by the same things Dr Levine sees in affluent families- too much materialism and too little real connection with parents and other adults. Am curious whether others see this primarily as a problem of privileged kids, or whether the consumer culture, and the pressures that parents exert on their kids cut across socio-economic lines?
I heard the author speak on "The Diane Rehm Show" this morning, and she explained that in her view "affluence" doesn't necessarily correlate to the wealth of a family as much as it does to parents' values. I think you are absolutely right that plenty of people who aren't "affluent" fall prey to the consumer culture, too. I too work in education, and I think the materialism and lack of parent/child connection go hand in hand, but in my experience the level of parental pressure to be perfect does depend somewhat on a family's economic status and increases with wealth.