Impact of An Economic Empowerment Program On the Lives of IPV Survivors
Research Aim: The purpose of this study is to determine if attending the program improves the financial and emotional well-being of survivors. Specifically, our hypotheses include: 1) Survivors who attend this financial literacy program, when compared to survivors who do not, will have greater improvements in their financial literacy, economic self-sufficiency, economic self-efficacy, and financial attitudes and behaviors; and 2) Survivors who attend this financial literacy program, when compared to survivors who do not, will have lower rates of depression, PTSD, anxiety, and financial strain.
Methods: This study is part of a longitudinal, randomized control research design to determine the impact of a financial literacy program on IPV survivors. IPV survivors were recruited from 14 domestic violence agencies spanning 7 states and Puerto Rico. Pre-tests were conducted with all participants; following the interview, participants were randomly selected to either the experimental or control group. Those in the experimental group participated in at least four group sessions and at least one individual session conducted by a trained advocate from the organization. Post-test interviews (T2) were then conducted with all participants. The survey instrument included scales that measured financial literacy, economic self-sufficiency, economic self-efficacy, financial attitudes and behaviors, depression, PTSD, anxiety, and financial strain. ANOVAs were run to compare the two groups. The data analysis was then performed on the first two waves of data, utilizing descriptive statistics and paired t-tests.
Results: 457 female IPV survivors participated in the first wave of this study; 300 completed the interview for the second wave for a response rate of 66%. The results of the ANOVAs indicated that the two groups were similar if not equal on all relevant background characteristics. Women in the experimental group showed significantly higher scores than women in the control group across all of the variables including financial literacy, financial attitudes and behaviors, economic self-efficacy, and economic self-sufficiency. Additionally, women in the experimental group showed significantly lower scores in financial strain, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
Conclusions & Implications: This paper provides greater understanding into the impact of participating in a financial literacy program for IPV survivors. Because women were randomly assigned to participate in the program, these observed differences on the key variables can be directly attributed to the impact of the program. Further exploration is needed to determine if these significant changes remain over time. Such understanding will prompt more policy and intervention strategies to assist IPV survivors to become economically empowered.