Psychometric Characteristics of Students’ Attitudes to Debts Scale

Šarūnas Žukauskas, Rita Žukauskienė


Recent decades have drawn the attention of researchers from various fields towards the indebtedness problem. Numerous research attempts have tried to determine demographic, economic, psychological characteristics that are connected with a higher risk of indebtedness. One of the most frequently mentioned psychological factors correlating with indebtedness level were positive attitudes to debt. Attitudes to debt were measured as a one-dimensional construct (pro- and anti- debt), but recent advances in the field show that attitudes towards debt can be better explained by two or three factors (for example, Scott & Lewis, 2001; Haultain, 2009).
The main goal of this research was to explore the structure of attitudes to student debt among a sample of Lithuanian students (N=86), and explore relations between attitudes to debt and financial behavior among students.
Method. We used two scales to measure attitudes to debt scale: Davies & Lea (1995), and the attitudes to debt scale and revised version of the scale, used by Haultain et al. (2010).
Results and conclusions: Exploratory factor analysis of both of the scales shows that attitudes to debt are not unidimensional and could be better explained by two distinct factors. After factor analysis our final version of the student attitudes to debt scale consisted of 9 items falling into two factors: debt avoidance (Cronbach’s ⟨=0,717) and debt utility (Cronbach’s (=0,713). The scale closely resembled the Haultain et al. (2010) scale, although some of the items were different because of situational factors (e.g. items concerning interest free student loans do not apply in Lithuania). We also found that debt avoidance was lower among students who were using loans. Additionally, we found that debt utility did not correlate with financial behavior.


Attitudes; student debt; credit use

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789