Resource Center: Professional Development


From Research to Practice: The Connection between Mental & Financial Health

The "Broccoli Banter" Webinar
April 21, 2017

1 CEU for AFCPE® certified professionals.
1 CEU for CFP
® certified professionals.
Free & Open to all financial professionals.


AFCPE Member, Dr. Sandra Huston, often compares academic research to broccoli. You know it’s good for you, but how do you make it more palatable?


From Research to Practice is a new series, sponsored by the AFCPE research task force. The webinars connect financial counselors, coaches, planners and educators to some of the top researchers in our field, while also providing practitioners a platform to inform the research that is being done.


Each one-hour webinar will introduce a current or in-progress research topic and provide practical implications to use in practice. The sessions also open an important dialogue between researchers and practitioners to help advance solutions for a wide range of financial issues that Americans face.



Research #1: Financial Perception & Depression Among College Students: Seeking practical implications of research in progress

Presenters: Sonya Britt and Danielle Winchester

Depression is a known indicator of academic performance among college students with one-third of students experiencing depressive symptoms on an annual basis (American College Health Association, 2013). This study explores how students’ perception of how they compare to their peers financially contributes the likelihood of depressive symptoms. Preliminary results indicate that having a high sense of personal mastery, high financial satisfaction, and having a spending plan are associated with a decreased likelihood of reporting depressive tendencies. While having difficulty paying bills, being in financial crisis, and being an undergraduate versus a graduate student are associated with an increased likelihood of reporting depressive tendencies. Some of the more direct measures of peer comparison—such as financial knowledge as compared to one’s peers—were not associated with depressive tendencies as expected.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Depression is prevalent on college campuses.
  2. Personal financial issues are associated with depressive symptoms.
  3. Financial literacy alone is not the answer.

Research #2: Does How We Feel About Financial Strain Matter for Mental Health?

Presenters: Sarah Asebedo & Melissa Wilmarth

This study investigates the relationship between financial strain and mental health. Tentative results reveal that financial strain is significantly related to increased depression; however, financial stress was found to moderate this relationship. Consistent with the ABC-X model, results suggest that financial strain is a neutral event until it is processed and interpreted by an individual, with subjective perceptions a more powerful predictor of mental health than objective financial circumstances. These results emphasize an area of synergy for financial and mental health researchers and professionals. We are seeking input into specific recommendations for practice.

Key learning objectives:

  1. Financial strain is correlated with depression.
  2. Perceptions are more important than objective status in predicting the relationship.
  3. Depression is higher among individuals with worse health behaviors.

Download the "Broccoli Banter" How to Read Research Guide

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