Measuring Financial Strain in the Lives of Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence
Research Aim: The Financial Strain Survey (Aldana & Liljenquist, 1998) was constructed to measure financial strain among adults. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the reliability, validity and factor structure of the Financial Strain Survey in a sample of female survivors of intimate partner violence currently receiving services from domestic violence agencies.
Methods: This study is part of a larger experimental study that measured the impact of an economic empowerment program on the lives of IPV survivors. Participants were recruited from 14 domestic violence programs across 10 states and Puerto Rico with 457 participants completing a face-to-face interview.
Measures: The Financial Strain Survey (Aldana & Liljenquist, 1998) is an18-item scale that measures five areas of financial strain including financial education (3 items), relationships (4 items), physical symptoms (4 items), credit card use (3 items) and ability to meet financial obligations (4 items). Participants were asked to indicate how often the items applied to them over the past 12 months. Participants indicated such frequency using a 5-point scale with answers ranging from 1 (never) to 5 (always).
Results: An Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) was conducted utilizing Principal Axis Factoring extraction and Direct Oblimin rotation. A five factor solution was accepted, utilizing all of the original 18 items, (KMO = .812; χ2 (153) = 3370.06, p < .001). The five factor solution was consistent with previous validation studies on the Financial Strain Survey (Aldana & Liljenquist, 1998) and consisted of the following subscales: financial education (3 items), relationships (4 items), physical symptoms (4 items), credit card use (3 items) and ability to meet financial obligations (4 items). The combined five factors accounted for 67.36% of the total variance. The oblique rotated factor pattern matrix indicated that all items loaded moderate to high on their respective subscales ranging from 0.331 to .949. In addition, each item demonstrated minimal cross-loadings (all less than .172). The five subscales also demonstrated strong internal reliability (Financial Strain, α=.84, Financial Education, α=.81, Relationships, α=.80, Physical, α=.87, Credit Card Use, α=.54, and Meeting Obligations, α=.82).
Conclusion: Our findings indicate that the Financial Strain Survey is an appropriate tool for use in understanding financial strain among IPV survivors. The Financial Strain Survey can be a useful tool for advocates and researchers to quickly assess the impact of financial strain on the life of the survivor.