Financial Stress, Social Supports, Gender, and Anxiety During College: A Stress-Buffering Perspective ψ

Giac-Thao Tran, Christina K. Lam, Walter Legg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this study, we examined financial stress and general anxiety in college students (N = 304) with attention to the moderating roles of different types of social support (i.e., family support, social support) and gender, as assessed via moderated moderation. Results indicated that financial stress was moderately-to-strongly associated with symptoms of general anxiety. A three-way interaction revealed that perceived family support and gender were moderators of financial stress in relation to general anxiety. Consistent with a stress-buffering effect, for male college students financial strain was positively associated with general anxiety at low levels of perceived family support, but unrelated at high levels of family support. For female college students, a significant financial stress–anxiety link was present regardless of level of family support. This study highlights the potential mental health costs of financial stress faced by college students, with implications for tailoring mental health interventions that target financial stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)846-869
Number of pages24
JournalCounseling Psychologist
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018



  • family support
  • financial stress
  • gender
  • general anxiety
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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