Understanding the consequences of undergraduate financial concern and its implications for academic outcomes

Reid, Matthew (2019) Understanding the consequences of undergraduate financial concern and its implications for academic outcomes. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

Existing literature links poorer financial circumstances with negative outcomes among undergraduate students, including worse academic outcomes. The research presented in this thesis aimed to (i) examine consequences of financial concern among undergraduate students, and (ii) identify variables mediating the relationships between financial concern and academic outcomes.

Study 1 (N = 101) investigated whether an experimental manipulation of financial concern salience affected undergraduates’ cognitive function, assessed in terms of working memory and inhibitory control. Contrary to prediction, there was no apparent effect of financial concern salience on cognitive function. Study 2 (N = 197) demonstrated that the experimental manipulation effectively influenced the salience of financial concern, suggesting that the absence of effects in Study 1 was unlikely to be attributable to manipulation failure.

Study 3 (N = 516) assessed mediators of the cross-sectional association between undergraduates’ financial concern and academic performance. Path analysis identified students’ sense of belonging at university, stress, and self-control as mediating variables. In Study 4, an independent sample (N = 2794) successfully validated the path model developed in Study 3. Further, Study 4 (N = 453) investigated mediators of the longitudinal associations between undergraduates’ financial concern and academic outcomes. Financial concern was found to predict detrimental changes in intrinsic academic motivation over time, as mediated by a decreased sense of belonging at university and increased stress.

Study 5 (N = 239) assessed whether an experimental manipulation of financial concern salience affected undergraduates’ sense of belonging at university. Contrary to prediction, there was no impact of financial concern salience on students’ sense of belonging at university.

Together, the present findings integrate much existing literature, and provide important insights in to the consequences of undergraduate financial concern. Yet, the null experimental findings highlight that further research is required before firm claims regarding causal relations are supported.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance > HG0179 Personal finance
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher education > LB2337.2 Student financial aid
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 23 May 2019 09:50
Last Modified: 23 May 2019 09:50
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/83858

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