How Do Childhood Money, Parent Problems Affect Young Adults?

UA researchers have received $876,801 toward a study on how financial health and compromised parent-adolescent relationships during adolescence affect young adults.
Nov. 3, 2011
Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell

How do financial stress and compromised parent-adolescent relationships during adolescence affect financial health and substance abuse in young adults?

A new four-year $876,801 grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, or NIAAA, will help researchers answer the question.

Research participants include the University of Arizona's McClelland Institute for Children, Youth and Families; the UA's Take Charge America Institute for Consumer Finance, Education and Research; and UC Davis.

The new research will contribute to an understanding of alcohol-related problems, prevention and treatment, and to programs and policies that can reduce financial stress and debt levels during young adulthood.

"An important predictor of alcohol problems in both adolescence and young adulthood is compromised parent-adolescent relationships. Another predictor is financial stress, which may be particularly relevant during times of economic downturn. But very little is known about the dynamics of financial stress and its association with alcohol problems in adolescence and into young adulthood," said McClelland Director Stephen Russell, who is the Fitch Nesbitt Endowed Chair in Family and Consumer Science and the principal investigator on the grant.

Four waves of data from the ongoing National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health – called Add Health – will be used to examine the potential long-term effects of family financial stress and parent-child relationship quality in adolescence on young adult family relationships, financial stress and alcohol problems.

Russell is joined in the research by co-principal investigators Joyce Serido, an assistant research professor with the Take Charge America Institute in the Norton School at the UA, and Katherine Conger, an associate professor in the Human and Community Development Department at UC Davis in California.

Serido's research expertise includes financial stress and well-being and the financial coping behaviors of young adults. Conger is an expert on effects of economic hardship on families and individuals.