Familial Responses to Financial Instability

June 8, 2010
Bowling Green State University
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The NCFMR provided an opportunity for researchers to field test new items using a large, web-based household survey (Knowledge Networks panel). Investigators were encouraged to explore innovative measures that will help to answer new research questions concerning family responses to financial strain. Research teams of the Pilot Data Collection presented their results in June 2010 and submitted a paper for the NCFMR Working Paper Series.

The data are now available for public use via the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).


How the Family Responds to Economic Pressure: A Comparative Study (26541)
  • Frank Furstenberg, Anne Gauthier, and Shelley Pacholok, Co-PIs
    University of Pennsylvania, Department of Sociology
    University of Calgary, Department of Sociology
    University of British Columbia, Unit 6/Sociology

The Financial Management Behaviors Scale (26542)
  • Couples who were married or cohabiting...
    • were less happy in their relationships the more the recession negatively impacted their finances.

  • Couples who report financial decline during the recession...
    • are saving less, using credit cards more, dropping insurance, and using budgets less.
  • Jeffrey Dew and Jing Jian Xiao, Co-PIs
    Utah State University, Department of Family, Consumer, and Human Development
    The University of Rhode Island, Department of Human Development and Family Studies

Doubling Up When Times Are Tough: Obligations to Share a Home in Response to Economic Hardship (26543)
  • Americans remain ambivalent about a parent sharing a home with a child who is living with a boyfriend or girlfriend.
    • Only 17% of Americans say it is a good idea to share a household with a child and his/her cohabiting partner in times of economic need, compared with 31% if the child is married and 43% if the child is still single.
  • The obligation to share a home with an older mother in need is stronger than the obligation to share with adult children, especially children who have started their own families, perhaps because Americans believe that adult children should be transitioning to independence.
    • Thirty-three percent of Americans think it is a good idea for an older mother to move in with an adult child when the mother has economic problems, compared to 26% when it is the adult child who is having trouble and needs a place to live.
  • Judith Seltzer and Suzanne Bianchi, Co-PIs
    University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Sociology
    •  Working Paper WP-10-05
      • Forthcoming in Fields Methods. Charles Q. Lau, Judith A. Seltzer, and Suzanne M. Bianchi. (2014). The Effects of Vignette Placement on Attitudes Toward Supporting Family Members.
      • Published in Social Science Research, 41(3), May 2012, available online doi:org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2012.05.08
    • Online Analysis

"It's All Your Fault": Predictors and Implications of Blame in Couples Under Economic Strain (26544)
  • Both men and women reported higher relationship satisfaction if the female partner blamed the national economic crisis for the household's problems.
  • Men only showed declines in relationship satisfaction as a function of worsening finances if their female partners blamed them for the household's money problems.
  • Women whose male partners had problematic patterns of debt, spending, or employment reported lower satisfaction unless these women blamed the national economic crisis for their financial problems.
  • Lisa Diamond and Angela Hicks
    University of Utah, Department of Psychology
    Westminster College, Department of Psychology