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Family Communication about Credit Card Use by College Students
Unformatted Document Text:  Family communication and credit cards 5 students and their families, this study identifies factors associated with (and perhaps predictive of) it. One such factor is the openness of overall family communication, sometimes called supportiveness (Ritchie, 1991), conversational orientation (Ritchie & Fitzpatrick, 1994) or expressivity (Fitzpatrick & Ritchie, 1994). We expect that families with open communication have established a level of trust and sharing in which children (including young adult children) can disclose their financial affairs, including their credit card situation. We hypothesize: H1: Family openness is positively related to openness about credit card matters. A second factor that should be related to openness about credit card use is a student’s dependence on his or her parents. Caughlin (2003) found that dependence is another criterion used to judge family communication in the sense that good families should be able to depend on one another for tangible and intangible assistance. As children move from infancy to adulthood, they become increasingly independent of their parents through a process of distance regulation (Hess, 2002). Bartle and Sabatelli (1989) noted that adolescents build a foundation for self- understanding by negotiating a balance between autonomy and interdependence within the family. Yet even college students (to say nothing of older children) depend on their parents for social support, advice, and financial assistance. If college students are more dependent on their parents in the financial area, they necessarily must have more communication with their parents about their credit card use. We examine two types of dependence: social and financial. In the area of social dependence, we expect that students who turn to their parents for advice or wisdom regarding credit cards will be more open with their parents about their own credit card spending. In the area of financial dependence, we expect that students whose parents pay a larger portion of their expenses must

Authors: Edwards, Renee., Allen, Myria., Brewster, Bradley., Hayhoe, Celia. and Leach, Lauren.
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Family communication and credit cards
5
students and their families, this study identifies factors associated with (and perhaps predictive
of) it. One such factor is the openness of overall family communication, sometimes called
supportiveness (Ritchie, 1991), conversational orientation (Ritchie & Fitzpatrick, 1994) or
expressivity (Fitzpatrick & Ritchie, 1994).
We expect that families with open communication have established a level of trust and
sharing in which children (including young adult children) can disclose their financial affairs,
including their credit card situation. We hypothesize:
H1: Family openness is positively related to openness about credit card matters.
A second factor that should be related to openness about credit card use is a student’s
dependence on his or her parents. Caughlin (2003) found that dependence is another criterion
used to judge family communication in the sense that good families should be able to depend on
one another for tangible and intangible assistance. As children move from infancy to adulthood,
they become increasingly independent of their parents through a process of distance regulation
(Hess, 2002). Bartle and Sabatelli (1989) noted that adolescents build a foundation for self-
understanding by negotiating a balance between autonomy and interdependence within the
family. Yet even college students (to say nothing of older children) depend on their parents for
social support, advice, and financial assistance.
If college students are more dependent on their parents in the financial area, they
necessarily must have more communication with their parents about their credit card use. We
examine two types of dependence: social and financial. In the area of social dependence, we
expect that students who turn to their parents for advice or wisdom regarding credit cards will be
more open with their parents about their own credit card spending. In the area of financial
dependence, we expect that students whose parents pay a larger portion of their expenses must


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