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Financial Goal Setting, Financial Anxiety, and Solution-Focused Financial Therapy (SFFT): A Quasi-experimental Outcome Study


Financial anxiety appears to have a significant effect on the lives of many Americans (APA Stress in America™, paying with our health, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, 2015) and a source of client distress among mental health clinicians, financial professionals, and financial therapists. Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) has been utilized in number disciplines as a way to help professionals interact with clients to create change and improve well-being. This study utilized a version of SFBT that applies its principles and techniques to financially related issues called Solution-Focused Financial Therapy (SFFT; Archuleta et al. in J Financial Ther 6(1):1–16, 2015a; in Financial therapy: theory, research, & practice, Springer, New York, 2015b). More specifically, SFFT was applied to a financial goal setting session. Using quasi-experimental methods, the purpose of this study was to discover whether or not financial anxiety levels were reduced after clients participated in a brief SFFT goal setting session. Results indicate that a SFFT approach to goal setting can reduce financial anxiety for the short-term. Implications for research and mental health, financial, and financial therapy practice are provided.

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We would like to thank all of the personal financial planning doctoral students who served as student financial therapists, between 2011 and 2016, and helped make this study possible.

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Correspondence to Kristy L. Archuleta.

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No conflict exists.

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Protocol #6301.3 was approved by Kansas State University Institutional Review Board.

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Informed consent was received by each client using a paper form.

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Archuleta, K.L., Mielitz, K.S., Jayne, D. et al. Financial Goal Setting, Financial Anxiety, and Solution-Focused Financial Therapy (SFFT): A Quasi-experimental Outcome Study. Contemp Fam Ther 42, 68–76 (2020).

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  • Financial anxiety
  • Solution-focused therapy
  • Solution-focused financial therapy
  • Financial goal setting