Abstract: A Scoping Review of Family Financial Socialization Literature: Guidance for Social Work Professionals to Support Families during the COVID-19 Pandemic (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

568P A Scoping Review of Family Financial Socialization Literature: Guidance for Social Work Professionals to Support Families during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Saturday, January 15, 2022
Marquis BR Salon 6, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
* noted as presenting author
Yesenia Alvarez Padilla, MSW, Graduate Research Associate, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Cäzilia Loibl, PhD, Associate Professor, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Oral paper presentation

Background and Purpose: Promoting economic justice and financial well-being plays an important role in social work practice often characterized as financial social work. Social work has a long history of incorporating micro and macro strategies to enhance the economic well-being of financially vulnerable populations and counseling families and couples through difficult financial situations. The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the time families spend together and the frequency of financial conversations as families must make difficult decisions as they cope (Cluver et al., 2020). Social workers can benefit from gaining a greater understanding of the family financial socialization literature that examines financial conversations within families as well as how they impact the financial behaviors and attitudes children adopt as adults, and financial outcomes in adulthood (Gudmunson et al., 2016). The objective of this research study was to conduct a scoping review of the family financial socialization literature to identify the best practices suggested for enhancing financial conversations within families amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: The scoping review of literature published since 1990 was conducted using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis extension for scoping reviews (Tricco et al., 2018). We performed a systematic search using Scopus, EBSCO, Web of Science, and PsycINFO. Major search terms included: “family financial socialization” OR “family financial conversations” OR “money talks”. The studies selected for review discussed strategies, approaches, or techniques to enhance financial conversations between parents and their children. Two independent screeners reviewed all of the articles and discussed discrepancies in article selection until reaching consensus.

Results: After duplicates were removed and abstracts of 64 records were screened, a total of 37 records were retrieved and 15 articles met eligibility criteria, such as (1) being a peer-reviewed journal article, (2) published in English and (3) describing strategies for conducting financial conversations in families. Results addressed content, approaches, and opportunities that promote effective financial conversations. Results about content suggest that parents are encouraged to cover financial topics they are comfortable with while enlisting the help of financial service providers. Results about approaches suggest engaging in open, collaborative dialogue where parents avoid lecturing and instead include their children in the conversation. Parents are encouraged to use open-ended questions, and self-disclose when appropriate. In other words, share how both negative and positive financial experiences impact their own financial behaviors and attitudes. Results about opportunities include suggestions to use upcoming financial milestones, every-day spending decisions as conversation starters. Insights are presented separately for community-based social work professionals and parents.

Conclusion and Implications: This scoping review provides a better understanding of strategies and techniques that families can use in economic hardship situations and inform social work professionals’ interventions in the community. When combined with economic supports and public benefits, this study suggests that social work professionals can effectively support families with children. Future studies should examine the effectiveness of trainings aimed at teaching parents about financial conversations, especially accounting for the needs of marginalized groups such as mixed-status families or refugees.