The Role of Economizing and Financial Strain in Australian University Students’ Psychological Well-Being
University students have reported that they engage increasingly in more financial economizing behaviors to cope with limited resources, often to the detriment of their well-being. The objectives of this study were to investigate the mediating role of perceived financial strain between economizing behaviors and depressed mood and life satisfaction, and to compare this mediator model to the prevailing direct effects model currently reflected in the literature. Using structural equation modelling, latent-variable mediation analysis supported the notion that economizing behaviors significantly, but indirectly, predict greater depressed mood and lower life satisfaction through perceived financial strain. When examined using non-hierarchical model comparison indices, the mediation model was a superior fit to the data, compared to the direct effects model.
KeywordsEconomizing Financial strain Stress appraisal University students Well-being
- Angel, R. J., Frisco, M., Angel, J. L., & Chiriboga, D. A. (2003). Financial strain and health among elderly Mexican-origin individuals. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 44(4), 536–551. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1519798?origin=JSTOR-pdf.
- Arbuckle, J. L. (2008). AMOS 17 User’s Guide. Chicago: SPSS Inc.Google Scholar
- Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55(5), 469–480. doi:10.1037//0003-066X.55.5.469.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2009). Australian Social Trends (No. 4102.0). Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4102.0.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2012). Year Book Australia (No. 1301.0). Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/1301.0.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2013). Australian Social Trends (No. 4102.0). Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4102.0.
- Bacikova-Sleskova, M., Dijk, J. P., Geckova, A. M., Nagyova, I., Salonna, F., Reijneveld, S. A., et al. (2007). The impact of unemployment on school leavers’ perception of health. Mediating effect of financial situation and social contacts? International Journal of Public Health, 52(3), 180–187. doi:10.1007/s00038-007-6071-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bexley, E., Daroesman, S., Arkoudis, S., & James, R. (2013). University student finances in 2012: A study of the financial circumstances of domestic and international students in Australia’s universities. Canberra: Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee.Google Scholar
- Boddington, L., & Kemp, S. (1999). Student debt, attitudes towards debt, impulsive buying, and financial management. New Zealand Journal of Psychology, 28(2), 89–93. Retrieved from http://www.psychology.org.nz/cms_show_download.php?id=720.
- Bradley, D., Noonan, P., Nugent, H., & Scale, B. (2008). Review of Australian higher education: Final report. Canberra: Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.Google Scholar
- Brougham, R. R., Zail, C. M., Mendoza, C. M., & Miller, J. R. (2009). Stress, sex differences, and coping strategies among college students. Current Psychology: A Journal for Diverse Perspectives on Diverse Psychological Issues, 28(2), 85–97. doi:10.1007/s12144-009-9047-0.
- Cohen, S., & Wills, T. A. (1985). Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 98(2), 310-357. Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/?&fa=main.doiLanding&uid=1986-01119-001.
- Department of Education, Science and Training. (2009). Students 2006 - Full year. Canberra, ACT: Department of Education, Science and Training.Google Scholar
- Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education. (2009). Full year student summary. Canberra, ACT: Innovation.Google Scholar
- Dunn, N., Inskip, H., Kendrick, T., Oestmann, A., Barnett, J., Godfrey, K., et al. (2008). Does perceived financial strain predict depression among young women? Longitudinal findings from the Southampton women’s survey. Mental Health in Family Medicine, 5(1), 15-21. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2777551/pdf/MHFM-05-015.pdf.
- Gerrans, P., Speelman, C., & Campitelli, G. (2013). The relationship between personal financial wellness and financial wellbeing: a structural equation modelling approach. Journal of Family and Economic Issues. Advance online publication. doi:10.1007/s10834-013-9358-z.
- James, R., Bexley, E., Devlin, M., & Marginson, S. (2007). Australian university student finances 2006: final report of a national survey of students in public universities. Canberra: Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee.Google Scholar
- Khawaja, N. G., & Dempsey, J. (2008). A comparison of international and domestic tertiary students in Australia. Australian Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 18(1), 30–46. doi:10.1375/ajgc.18.1.30.
- Kirby, D., & Conlon, M. (2005). Comparing the economic experiences of rural and urban university students. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 51(1), 4–17. Retrieved from http://www.education.ualberta.ca/educ/journals/ajer.html.
- Kline, R. B. (2005). Principles and practices of structural equation modeling (2nd ed.). New York: The Guildford Press.Google Scholar
- Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal and coping. New York: Springer Publication Company.Google Scholar
- Metcalf, H. (2003). Increasing inequality in higher education: The role of term-time working. Oxford Review of Education, 29(3), 315–329. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3595444.
- Norvilitis, J. M., Merwin, M. M., Osberg, T. M., Roehling, P. V., Young, P., & Kamas, M. M. (2006). Personality factors, money attitudes, financial knowledge, and credit-card debt in college students. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 36(6), 1395–1413. doi:10.1111/j.0021-9029.2006.00065.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Scheffer, J. (2002). Dealing with missing data. Research Letters in the Information and Mathematical Sciences, 3, 153–160. Retrieved from http://muir.massey.ac.nz/bitstream/handle/10179/4355/Dealing_with_Missing_Data.pdf?sequence=1.
- Schulenberg, J. E., Bryant, A. L., & O’Malley, P. M. (2004). Taking hold of some kind of life: How developmental tasks relate to trajectories of well-being during the transition to adulthood. Development and Psychopathology, 16(4), 1119–1140.Google Scholar
- Shim, S., Barber, B. L., Card, N. A., Xiao, J. J., & Serido, J. (2010). Financial socialization of first-year college students: The roles of parents, work, and education. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 1–14. doi:10.1007/s10964-009-9432-x.
- Shim, S., & Serido, J. (2011). Young adults’ financial capability: Arizona pathways to life success for university students, Wave 2. Tucson: The University of Arizona. Retrieved from http://aplus.arizona.edu/Wave-2-Report.pdf.
- Stein, C. H., Hoffmann, E., Bonar, E. E., Leith, J. E., Abraham,… Fogo, W. R. (2013). The United States economic crisis: Young adults’ reports of economic pressures, financial and religious coping and psychological well-being. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 34, 200–210. doi:10.1007/s10834-012-9328-x.
- Valentino, S. W., Moore, J. E., Cleveland, M. J., Greenberg, M. T., & Tan, X. (2013). Profiles of financial stress over time using subgroup analysis. Journal of Family and Economic Issues. Advance online publication. doi:10.1007/s10834-012-9345-9.
- Zimmerman, F. J., & Katon, W. (2005). Socioeconomic status, depression disparities, and financial strain: What lies behind the income-depression relationship? Health Economics, 14(12), 1197–1215. doi:10.1002/hec.1011.