TitleSubjective Financial Well-Being During Emerging Adulthood: The Role of Student Debt
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsCherney, K, Rothwell, D, Serido, J, Shim, S
JournalEmerging Adulthood
Date Published10/2019

In this study, we examined (1) the effect of changes in outstanding student debt on trajectories of subjective financial well-being (SFWB) over time and (2) how these trajectories vary according to family socioeconomic and emerging adult financial factors. We used three waves of longitudinal data from the Arizona Pathways to Life Success for University Students (APLUS) study and used growth curve models to analyze the data. Net of family socioeconomic and emerging adult financial factors, student debt was significantly and negatively associated with SFWB across the emerging adult period. Trajectories of SFWB varied slightly in relation to changes in student debt. Between-person differences in debt mattered more for trajectories of SFWB relative to within-person changes in debt over time. Family socioeconomic factors had a strong influence on SFWB trajectories. Findings illustrate how student debt may suppress postsecondary education’s impact as an inequality reducing mechanism. They also suggest the need for both individual- and policy-level intervention.

Short TitleEmerging Adulthood