Racquel H. Tibbetts, PhD, successfully defended her dissertation in December 2015 titled: “Examining how health and financial resources relate to stress.”
Health and financial resources may be two of the most important resources when individuals experience stress. As one of the most commonly cited theories in the organizational behavior literature over the last 25 years (Halbeslegen, Paustian-Underdahl and Westman, 2014), the Conservation of Resources (COR) theory was used in this dissertation to view how health and financial resources relate to general life and financial stress.
Data was collected from a convenience sample consisting of men and women between the ages of 19 and 65, and were primarily White, female and averaged less than two dependents. Annual household income averaged between $50,000 and $100,000. Variables for this study were operationalized using established measurements where available, with sound psychometric properties.
In order to assess resources, a measure for resources was developed using a principal axis factor analysis from the conservation of resources evaluation (COR-E), which is a list of 74 items identified as valuable resources by the COR theory’s author (Hobfoll, 2001). The relationships among these resources along with demographic characteristics on general life stress and financial stress were examined through ordinary least squares regression analyses. Results indicate that health resources, along with being white, as compared to non-whites, make significant contributions to the variance in general life stress. Financial resources, success resources, being white, as compared to non-whites, and level of household income were found to make significant contributions to the variance in financial stress.
This study’s results should help individuals better assess the priority and protection they give to their resources. Employers will likely see savings by designing and implementing properly targeted employer sponsored programs that address resource growth and conservation to help to reduce stress, which should result in reductions to health care costs, fewer lost work days and increased productivity.
Financial planners and therapists will find the results useful in improving their efforts working with individuals on understanding, prioritizing and growing their resources as a way to reduce stress. Researchers and educators will use the results of this study to gain a deeper understanding of the use of the COR theory.
Tibbetts’s major professor was Sonya Britt, PhD, CFP®, associate professor. Her dissertation can be viewed and downloaded at http://hdl.handle.net/2097/20580. Tibbetts is vice president and senior financial planner for Key Private Bank in Bangor, Maine.