Research on cancer disparities has moved from describing disparate cancer outcomes across socioeconomic categories, towards attempts to eliminate such disparities. Yet, it remains unclear exactly what aspects of material conditions are linked to specific health outcomes. Different demands on economic resources and disparate rates in the accumulation of assets across the life course can result in variations in household material conditions within and between SES groups. Traditional measures of SES may not capture these differences. A construct that might prove useful in synthesizing the material and psychosocial dimensions of socioeconomic circumstances is financial well-being (FWB), which is explored in this project.
Aim 1 of this project is to develop a conceptual model of the multidimensional construct FWB and Aim 2 is to develop and pilot test a robust measure of FWB. Development of the conceptual model and item generation for the measure of FWB will draw from multidisciplinary research literatures (e.g. public health/medicine, social science, economics, and consumer/family sciences) and expert opinion. To refine the conceptual model and the pool of items to measure FWB, focus groups (N=38) and cognitive interviews (N=20) will be conducted. The measure of FWB will be pilot tested with residents in the city of Boston (N=500). A subsample of the pilot sample (N=50) will participate in a portion of the study designed to evaluate the test-retest reliability of the measure of FWB. Multiple indicator, multiple cause (MIMIC) models will be used to investigate measurement equivalence of FWB across racial/ethnic groups. The successful completion of this project will result in a valid conceptual model of FWB and a measure of FWB that has been rigorously evaluated. The proposed work will further provide insight into the socioeconomic environment beyond traditional measures of SES such as education, income, and occupation. Expanding our conceptualization of SES to include material and psychosocial aspects of individual socioeconomic circumstances may help to elucidate the pathway between socioeconomic circumstances and cancer risk.
A focus on how socioeconomic status (SES) is experienced through factors such as financial well-being may suggest different (and independent) pathways to health not captured by traditional measures of SES. The goal of this project is to develop a conceptual model and a measure of financial well-being that integrates psychosocial and material dimensions of socioeconomic circumstances.