Economic / Material / Financial Hardship

Measures of economic, material, or financial hardship capture the difficulties—general or domain specific (e.g., food, housing)—in meeting financial obligations with current financial resources.


Source: Starrin B, Åslund C, Nilsson KW. Financial stress, shaming experiences and psychosocial ill-health: Studies into the Finances-Shame Model. Social Indicators Research. 2008;91(2):283-298.

Psychometric properties: Cronbach’s alpha = 0.75

If you suddenly ended up in an unforeseen situation where you have to raise $2,000, would you be able to?

  • Yes
  • No


Source: Shek DTL. Economic stress, emotional quality of life, and problem behavior in Chinese adolescents with and without economic disadvantage. Social Indicators Research. 2005;71:363-383.

Psychometric properties:
Cronbach’s alpha = 0.63 (Fathers)
Cronbach’s alpha = 0.57 (Mothers)
Cronbach’s alpha = 0.71 (Adolescents)

In the past six months, has your family had inadequate money to cope with the family expenses?

  • Never
  • Rarely
  • Sometimes
  • Always

In the past six months, has your family delayed the payment of bills because of financial difficulty?

  • Never
  • Rarely
  • Sometimes
  • Always

What has been the economic condition of your family in the past six months?

  • No financial difficulty
  • Some financial difficulty
  • Considerable financial difficulty
  • Much difficulty

How do you feel about the financial situation of your family?

  • Has improved
  • No change
  • Has deteriorated


Source: Weckström S. Self-assessed consequences of unemployment on individual wellbeing and family relationships: A study of unemployed women and men in Finland. International Journal of Social Welfare. 2011;21(4):372-383.

Psychometric properties: Cronbach’s alpha = 0.84

Have you or your family had difficulties in paying running costs, such as food and rent, during the past year?

  • Yes
  • No

Which of the following five statements describes your financial situation during the past year?

  • I have been able to purchase everything I want and need without difficulties.
  • I have been able to purchase almost all I want and need.
  • I have been forced to give up some non-essential needs.
  • I have even been forced to give up some essential needs.
  • I have been forced to give up everything.

How easy or difficult is it to maintain the subsistence of your family these days?

  • Very difficult
  • Difficult
  • Neutral
  • Easy
  • Very easy


Source: Giannetti C, Madia M, Moretti L. Job insecurity and financial distress. Applied Financial Economics. 2014;24(4):219-233.

Psychometric properties: Cronbach’s alpha = Not reported.

Is your household’s income sufficient to see you through to the end of the month?

  • With great difficulty
  • With difficulty
  • With some difficulty
  • Fairly easily
  • Easily
  • Very easily