Financial Behavior Change and Progress Toward Self-Sufficiency: A Goal-Framing Theory Application

Joyce Serido, Chuanyi Tang, Sun Young Ahn, Soyeon Shim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We applied goal-framing theory to determine whether there were discernible patterns in emerging adults’ financial behavior from college to career and whether those patterns were associated with progress toward self-sufficiency. Using longitudinal data collected over 5 years from a college cohort of emerging adults (N = 968) in the United States, we estimated latent growth curve models and identified three financial-behavior patterns suggestive of the overarching motivations in the theory: planful (gain), present focused (hedonic), and socially compliant (normative). Using multinomial logistic regression analysis, we found that higher perceived financial control, more positive financial attitudes, higher perceived parental expectations, and more exposure to financial education were predictive of a gain pattern. Analyses of variance showed that the gain financial-behavior pattern was associated with the most progress toward self-sufficiency (adult stability, career status, and well-being). We discuss the findings as they pertain to the connection between emerging adults’ financial behavior and progress toward self-sufficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-529
Number of pages9
JournalEmerging Adulthood
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Citi Foundation, National Institute of Food and Agriculture: Hatch Grant #006781, and National Endowment for Financial Education.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood and SAGE Publishing.


  • college
  • employment
  • longitudinal
  • motivation
  • parenting
  • school transitions
  • transitions to adulthood
  • well-being


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