Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A phenomenological study of family influence on Millennial college students' money beliefs and behaviors
by Campbell, Mary Ann Briscoe, Ph.D., Iowa State University, 2007, 215; 3289438
Abstract (Summary)

Although family systems theorists have long emphasized the family as an important influence on the individual's life choices, there is minimal qualitative research relating to Millennial college students and the impact of their families, particularly in the area of financial beliefs and behaviors. The purpose of this qualitative study was the exploration of the phenomenon of family influence on Millennial college students regarding how money messages from parents and grandparents have influenced their own money beliefs and behaviors. Seven college students between the ages of 21-23 were interviewed to gain insight into the perceived impact of family money messages.

The literature review informed the study by describing family systems theory and the role of family and consumer sciences education in financial literacy. Characteristics of Millennial college students in general and how they tend to handle money specifically were explored. Obstacles to success for Millennial college students, such as credit card debt, student loans, gambling on campus, and attrition due to financial problems, were described.

For this qualitative study, rigorous data collection incorporated questionnaires, genograms, written reflections, data forms, and multiple semi-structured, guided interviews. These face-to-face personal interviews provided rich descriptions of the students' experiences constructing their money genograms and reflecting on the perceived impact of the money messages received from their grandparents and parents. The group of seven students was diverse in ethnicity and gender.

The transcribed data from the recorded interviews were coded, analyzed, interpreted, and synthesized into a composite textural description of the family influence phenomenon. Seven themes emerged including the importance of living within one's means, limiting debt, managing and planning, saving, investing, completing higher education, and being a hard worker. The essence of this phenomenon was the relationships formed as a result of family attitudes towards money and the family dynamics that provided the context for these messages.

This study explored the impact of family influence on financial beliefs and behaviors of Millennial college students. The study answered questions about the influence of parents and grandparents on the money ideas and actions of college students. Paths to practice to improve financial well-being of college students were described. Further research was recommended in such areas as socio-economic environment and gender differences.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hausafus, Cheryl O.
School: Iowa State University
Department: Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies
School Location: United States -- Iowa
Source: DAI-A 68/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: School finance, Home economics education
Keywords: Family and consumer sciences, Family influence, Genogram, Money beliefs, Personal finance
Publication Number: 3289438
ISBN: 9780549337102
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