Date Presented 04/22/2023

The aim of this study was to determine change in financial acumen after participating in a financial literacy program. Study participants were recruited from a substance abuse treatment center. A total of 31 men participated. A t test was conducted to compare scores on the financial tests. Scores on the financial literacy pretest (M = 74, SD = 13.58) and posttest (M = 84, SD = 10.50) were significantly different, t(30) = −3.14. A financial literacy program for this population is warranted.

Primary Author and Speaker: Kristin A. Valdes

Additional Authors and Speakers: Dianna Lunsford, Jennifer Castelli

PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact on the participants’ financial acumen after participating in a comprehensive financial literacy program delivered within a court-ordered residential (substance) rehabilitation center. Individuals with SUD may display decreased impulse control, which can lead to impulsive spending or spending money to purchase drugs. There are many instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) associated with successful independent living for those in recovery from SUD, who may have also been previously incarcerated. Financial management is one such IADL that impacts many areas of reintegration, such as maintaining housing for independent living, and setting financial goals that require planning. Financial literacy is an important life skill that may be affected by decreased cognitive processes or behavioral deficits that arise from substance-use disorder as the skills involved in managing finances can range from the very simple, such as counting money, to the complexity of online banking.

DESIGN: A mixed method, prospective cohort design was used for this study. A convenience sample of participants were recruited from a residential treatment program for people who experience substance use disorders. Participants are separated into male and female groups to appropriately serve the unique needs of each population. The males and females could not be integrated to participate in this program, and males were chosen to pilot the program. All participants were enrolled in Emerge which is a residential program for men only, and includes several options for programming, at different stages of recovery. The facility requested that all interested male residents be offered to participate in the financial literacy sessions therefore, no control group was used.

METHOD: A financial literacy program provided foundational concepts that were delivered using an occupation-based, simulated approach alongside didactic content. The program includes 16-item multiple choice and 4-item True/False knowledge test to determine financial literacy at baseline and post program. The participants received five points for each correct answer and the maximum points achieved when taking the assessment are 100. The questions included those about savings, credit scores, taxable income, budgeting, banking, and investing. Four interview questions were used to gain more insight about the participant’s perceptions about the program. The interviews were performed at post-test assessment and the participants wrote their answers down during the interview process. Means, and standard deviation (SD), were calculated for Financial Literacy test scores. The difference between the means of pre-test and posttest scores were analyzed using paired-samples t-test P-values < .05 were considered statistically significant. Interview and open-ended written responses were analyzed: first, by each researcher independently coding and categorizing responses. The initial codes were then grouped into categories and themes were formed.

RESULTS: A total of 31 males participated. A t-test was conducted to compare the scores on the financial tests. There was a significant difference in the financial literacy pretest (M=74, SD=13.58) and posttest (M=84, SD=10.50) scores; t(30) =-3.14, p = 0.003. Themes that emerged when participants were asked how the information would help manage their finances included: goal setting, saving, and understanding financial institutions.

CONCLUSION: This study ‘provides preliminary evidence' that supports financial literacy program for this population and indicate that OT is a profession suited to do so.


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