Money attitudes, economic locus of control, and financial strain among college students
Hayes, John V.
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The relationship between attitudes and behavior has been studied extensively, yet research on money attitudes, perceptions of economic locus of control, and financial strain among college students is less abundant. Toward a better understanding of college student’s attitudes and perceptions about money, an investigation of student money attitudes and perceptions of economic locus of control is advanced. Research favors the validity of Furnham’s assertion that money attitudes are clearly not one-dimensional, and encompass a multitude of dimensions. Assessing these attitudes yields clearly defined constructs that may be influenced through additional stimuli. Numerous studies support the contention that money attitudes are learned dispositions, initially developed through parental teachings and observation of family money practices, later refined through socialization and experience. Thus it might be considered that money behavior change may be best accomplished through money attitude change, the latter accomplished by additional focused stimuli. Results of this study indicate significant differences in attitudes and perceptions of control over money matters between female and male college students, differences in the perceptions of influence over money matters between students from the Mexican American, Latino / Latina cultures and students from the Anglo American cultures, and differences in attitudes and practices between freshman students and upper class students. This analysis suggests female students tended to feel less personal control over positive outcomes compared to male students, yet perceived uncontrollable chance as less influential on their financial circumstances. Female students indicated less difficulty in meeting current obligations than did male students, while placing less importance on planning for future financial circumstances. Female students feel higher levels of anxiety over financial issues, have lower scores in financial literacy, and use money to impress or influence others less than male students. This analysis found that freshman students from the Mexican American and Latino / Latina cultures felt a significantly higher influence over their financial situation from Powerful Others; this influence increasing as the student advanced through class levels. The analysis also indicates junior and senior level students spend significantly higher amounts of time working (including work study), and have a much higher probability of reducing class load or withdrawing from class due to financial constraints. Implications of the study and recommendations for further research are discussed.