Financial literacy programs are quickly gaining in popularity around the globe. A relatively new target group is survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV), an economically vulnerable group for whom resource acquisition is related to personal safety and well-being. This study is a randomized controlled trial of a financial literacy curriculum designed for and delivered to a sample of 300 IPV survivors from 14 agencies in seven US states and Puerto Rico.
The Allstate Foundation, in partnership with the National Network to End Domestic Violence Inc. (NNEDV), designed a financial education curriculum specifically for IPV survivors called Moving Ahead Through Money Management. The three main learning objectives for the study participants are: 1) to learn the basic vocabulary and knowledge with regard to money, credit, and financial management; 2) to understand basic financial processes including loan applications, filing for bankruptcy and running a credit score; and 3) to learn what is needed to leave an abusive relationship. The curriculum incorporated material on disentangling joint financial relationships, repairing credit damaged by abusers, locating safety and financial resources, and forming economic safety plans and strategies to protect participants against their abusers.
Participants: Randomly assigned within each agency to a treatment group who received the curriculum, or a control group who did not. Post-test interviews: accomplished after approximately two months, eight months and fourteen months.
Outcome Variable: Financial Literacy
The financial literacy scale measured an individual’s perceived financial knowledge. The response categories for the questions used a 1–5 scale that ranged from (1) strongly disagree to (5) strongly agree.
Outcome Variable: Financial Behaviors
Financial behaviors: measured by asking the respondents 14 questions regarding their financial behaviors over the past month. Response options ranged from 1 (never) to 5 (always).
Curriculum Variable: Study Group
The study group variables: coded as 1 for those who participated in the curriculum (treatment group) and 0 for the control group members.
Intimate Partner Violence
Participants were asked to indicate how often a partner had committed specific abusive acts (30 items in total) over the last year. The survey used a 5-point scale with answers ranging from 1 (never) to 5 (very often).
The Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D), developed by the National Institute of Health measures depressive symptoms. This 20-item, self-report scale includes questions related to depressed mood, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, psychomotor retardation, loss of appetite, and sleep disorders. Participants reported how often they had experienced depressive symptoms over the past week on a scale of 0 (less than 1 day) to 3 (5–7 days).
Financial attitudes refer to the attitudes and beliefs an individual hold in regards to the importance and relevance of financial activities, such as budgeting and saving. Questions included opinions on the importance of savings, financial planning, and keeping financial records. Questions included opinions on the importance of savings, financial planning, and keeping financial records. The instrument used a 5-point Likert-type scale (1 = Strongly Disagree, 5 = Strongly Agree) for its 15 questions.