Abstract: Economic empowerment: Evaluation of a financial literacy curriculum for survivors of abuse (Society for Social Work and Research 14th Annual Conference: Social Work Research: A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES)

11946 Economic empowerment: Evaluation of a financial literacy curriculum for survivors of abuse

Sunday, January 17, 2010: 9:15 AM
Pacific Concourse I (Hyatt Regency)
* noted as presenting author
Sara-Beth Plummer, PhD , Rutgers University, Project Coordinator and Instructor, New Brunswick, NJ
Judy L. Postmus, PhD , Rutgers University, Assistant Professor, New Brunswick, NJ
Nadine Murshid , Rutgers University, PhD student, New Brunswick, NJ
Background & Purpose: Although battered women have identified financial dependence and abuse as a factor for remaining in an abusive relationship, few receive education on financial literacy from programs. In response, The Allstate Foundation in collaboration with the National Network to End Domestic Violence created “Moving Ahead Through Money Management”, a financial literacy curriculum for survivors of domestic violence survivors receiving services from shelters. This study delineates the effects of this financial literacy program on survivors' economic empowerment, economic self-sufficiency, quality of life, PTSD, depression, financial, and intimate partner abuse.

Method: A longitudinal survey design with convenience sampling is being used to gather information from 121 survivors of abuse utilizing the curriculum. The results of this study are based on data obtained during the first round of interviews. The participants will complete three rounds of interviews over the course of one year. Financial literacy was measured through the use of a newly constructed scale based on the curriculum and included topics such as how to identify signs of economic abuse, how to develop a budget and begin saving money. Other validated or slightly modified scales used for this study include a modified Family Empowerment Scale, the Financial Self-Efficacy Scale, the WEN Economic Self-Sufficiency scale, the Abusive Behavior Inventory, the Scale of Economic Abuse, and the CES-D. Quality of life was measured using an adapted version of the Andrews and Witeys' Scale of Well-Being, and PTSD was assessed using a revised scale from the National Comorbidity Survey. Data analyses included descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis of covariance.

Results: A MANCOVA was performed to test the mean differences among those who differed on their financial literacy (high level of financial literacy vs. low level of financial literacy); age was introduced as a covariate. MANCOVA results indicated statistically significant main effects for financial literacy (Wilks' Lambda = .689, F= 2.903, p<.01). Individuals with high levels of financial literacy indicated higher levels of economic empowerment, economic self-sufficiency and quality of life. The main effects of financial literacy was significant for all three economic empowerment sub-scales (family, F=23.525, p<.001, service, F=14.624, p<.001, and community, F=19.060, p<.001), for both economic self-sufficiency scales (Financial Self-Efficacy Scale, F=13.215, p<.001) and WEN Economic Self-Sufficiency scale, F=7.293, p<.001) and quality of life (F=8.462, p<.001).

Conclusion & Implications: This study provides new information on the importance of economic literacy as an assessment and intervention tool for use with survivors of IPV. The findings highlight the possibility of economic literacy increasing survivors' perceived sense of economic empowerment, economic self-sufficiency and quality of life. This study also offers areas of consideration for social work practitioners, educators and researchers to include economic literacy in their practice, teaching and research.