First Advisor

Robert R. Sinclair

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Personal Finance, Job stress



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, xii, 159 pages)


With the onset of globalization, the economic contexts and working conditions within many countries are changing, presenting new challenges' for governments, organizations, and workers. Amid these challenges, concerns about personal finances are prevalent among employees and detrimental to workers' health, well-being, and families. Research on how this financial stress affects employees at work is lacking.

In this thesis, I propose an appraisal-based model of financial stress whereby actual income and expenses are related to perceptions of income adequacy to afford wants and needs. These adequacy perceptions are, in turn, related to financial strain, representing a heightened negative affective state regarding one's financial situation. I hypothesize that, through a drain in emotional resources, financial strain will negatively predict life satisfaction by potentially inhibiting participation in healthy, enjoyable behaviors. I argue that this drain in emotional resources will also inhibit successful task performance and restrict participation in discretionary citizenship behaviors.

Data from two working samples provide support for the hypothesized financial stress model and establish preliminary evidence of construct validity for new financial stress scales. In a prospective investigation, financial strain fully mediated the effects of income adequacy on subsequent life satisfaction, but was not related to job performance. Instead, perceived income adequacy to afford wants had a direct negative relationship with both task performance and citizenship behaviors at work, while income adequacy to afford needs had a positive direct effect on organizational citizenship behaviors.

This work resolves many conceptual inconsistencies about financial stress in the literature, and contributes to the understanding of how income perceptions and financial stress might influence psychological resources and work motivation. This work has important implications for how organizations manage employees who may be experiencing low income adequacy and high financial strain. Finally, there are several meaningful opportunities for future research that would substantially build upon existing theory and evidence in this new area of financial stress and work.


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