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Measuring financial anxiety

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Shapiro, GK 
Burchell, BJ 


There is a scarcity of information concerning the emotional aspects of financial management. Two studies were conducted to evaluate the measurement of conscious and intuitive emotional anxiety toward one’s personal finances. Along with a selfreported financial anxiety questionnaire, a modified Emotional Stroop Test (EST) and Dot-Probe Paradigm (DPP) were separately utilized to evaluate financial anxiety. In both studies, the self-reported financial anxiety questionnaire correlated significantly with the implicit measures. Furthermore, the DPP was predominantly characterized by avoidance of financial information. Financial anxiety was shown to be a separate construct from depression and general anxiety. These findings indicate that those who report having financial anxiety also display reaction latencies in the processing of financial information. Accordingly, financial behavior could be more comprehensively evaluated and policy could be better determined by incorporating financial anxiety into models of financial illiteracy, mismanagement, and debt.



financial anxiety, dot-probe paradigm, emotional Stroop test, student debt, financial policy

Journal Title

Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics

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American Psychological Association (APA)