Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family Consumer Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Jean M. Lown


Jean M. Lown


Kathleen W. Piercy


Cathy L. Hartman


Seventeen women between the ages of 25 and 54 who self-identified as having made a positive financial change within the past two years were interviewed in four focus groups. Participants were asked to identify their motivations for financial behavior change. The analysis of this research data indicated the participants in this study progressed through the stages of change in Prochaska's Transtheoretical Model while making personal financial changes. Factors such as emotion, family influence, and life transition helped many women move from earlier stages (Precontemplation, Contemplation) to later stages (Preparation, Action) of change. Although participants utilized a wide variety of first steps of change (e.g., reduced spending, increased savings, and so forth), motivations for those changes fell into two categories: goal-centered change and crisis-centered change. As expected, the participants in this study experienced internal and external setbacks while attempting to make permanent changes. Nearly all participants made use of at least one form of support during their change including educational, social, and professional support. Also, participants divulged their strategies for successful change. Optimism and using financial tricks (e.g., limiting access to credit cards or savings, using automated savings plans) were the two most commonly used strategies. Implications for policy and practice include tailoring marketing messages toward women experiencing life transitions and incorporating concepts from Prochaska's Transtheoretical Model into the development of financial education programs.




This work made publicly available electronically on December 23, 2010.