family financial socialization, scale development, financial modeling, financial discussion, experiential learning


A theoretically-grounded, validated measure of parent financial socialization is needed. This paper describes the development and validation process of three new scales: the Parent Financial Modeling Scale (eight items), the Parent-Child Financial Discussion Scale (nine items), and the Experiential Learning of Finances Scale (three items). These may be treated as subscales of a multidimensional latent construct: the Parent Financial Socialization Scale (20 items). The three scales measure the three primary methods of family financial socialization. The scales are designed to be retrospective, with target participants being U.S. emerging adults (age 18-30). A rigorous development process was undertaken: an initial pool of items was generated, expert assessments were collected, cognitive interviews were conducted, and (following preliminary data collection) preliminary item reduction analysis and confirmatory factor analysis were conducted. Final data were collected from a diverse (51.7% female, 47.6% male; 31.6% White, 22.0% Black, 19.8% Latinx, 14.6% Asian; 50.4% no parent with college degree, 47.4% parent with college degree) sample of 4,182 U.S. emerging adults. During validation, item reduction analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, reliability tests, measurement invariance tests, and construct validity tests were conducted. The scales demonstrated acceptable reliability and validity, and invariance was established across sex, race, and parents’ education level. These scales are unique in their ability to capture nuance and will allow for comparisons across studies. They will enhance the quality of family financial socialization research, expand the questions that can be answered, and allow for the development of programming that is effective for a wide range of families.

Original Publication Citation

LeBaron-Black, A. B.,Curran, M. A., Hill, E. J., Freeh, M. E., Toomey, R. B., & Speirs, K. E. (In press). Parent Financial Socialization Scale: Development and preliminary validation. Journal of Family Psychology.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


American Psychological Association (APA)




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor