Original Paper

Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 369-381

First online:

College Students and Credit Card Use: The Role of Parents, Work Experience, Financial Knowledge, and Credit Card Attitudes

  • Adam M. HancockAffiliated withCreative Solutions Innovative Strategies, LLC. Email author 
  • , Bryce L. JorgensenAffiliated withDepartment of Child and Family Relations, East Carolina University
  • , Melvin S. SwansonAffiliated withCollege of Nursing, East Carolina University

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This study examined the influence of parental interactions, years of work experience, financial knowledge, credit card attitudes, and personal characteristics on college students’ credit card behaviors (i.e., number of cards and amount of debt). Based on data collected across seven universities (N = 413), we found that students who had parents who argued about finances, were juniors/seniors, and were comfortable making minimum payments were the most likely to have $500 or more in credit card debt and two or more credit cards. In addition, number of credit cards held was the only dependent variable influenced by gender and fear of credit cards. These results highlight the importance of early interventions in the life of college students including involving parents as positive role models.


Credit card debt Parent–child interactions Work experience College students Financial attitudes