Subjective Financial Well-Being During Emerging Adulthood: The Role of Student Debt

Katrina Cherney, David Rothwell, Joyce Serido, Soyeon Shim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this study, we examined (1) the effect of changes in outstanding student debt on trajectories of subjective financial well-being (SFWB) over time and (2) how these trajectories vary according to family socioeconomic and emerging adult financial factors. We used three waves of longitudinal data from the Arizona Pathways to Life Success for University Students (APLUS) study and used growth curve models to analyze the data. Net of family socioeconomic and emerging adult financial factors, student debt was significantly and negatively associated with SFWB across the emerging adult period. Trajectories of SFWB varied slightly in relation to changes in student debt. Between-person differences in debt mattered more for trajectories of SFWB relative to within-person changes in debt over time. Family socioeconomic factors had a strong influence on SFWB trajectories. Findings illustrate how student debt may suppress postsecondary education’s impact as an inequality reducing mechanism. They also suggest the need for both individual- and policy-level intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-495
Number of pages11
JournalEmerging Adulthood
Volume8
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Funding support for the study was provided to Katrina Cherney and David Rothwell through the Arizona Pathways to Life Success for University Students Project research award from The University of Wisconsin–Madison. Katrina Cherney also received funding support from the Fonds de recherche du Québec. Data collection was funded by the National Endowment for Financial Education, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates, and Citi Foundation.

Funding Information:
We thank Drs. Richard A. Settersten, Genevi?ve Gari?py, and Jill Hanley who provided insight and expertise that greatly improved this article. The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Funding support for the study was provided to Katrina Cherney and David Rothwell through the Arizona Pathways to Life Success for University Students Project research award from The University of Wisconsin?Madison. Katrina Cherney also received funding support from the Fonds de recherche du Qu?bec. Data collection was funded by the National Endowment for Financial Education, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates, and Citi Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood and SAGE Publishing.

Keywords

  • college
  • life course
  • longitudinal
  • policy issues
  • quantitative methods
  • trajectories
  • transitions to adulthood
  • well-being

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