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A Follow-up Study of Ohio State University Extension's Youth Financial Literacy Program Real Money, Real World: Behavioral Changes of Program Participants
Bateson, Lisa Anne

2009, Master of Science, Ohio State University, Human and Community Resource Development.

Financial literacy is a major concern yet few studies have investigated if behavioral changes occur after participation in a financial education program. The purpose of this study was to determine the behavior changes made by participants in the OSU Extension’s youth financial literacy program Real Money, Real World as well as the barriers participants encountered that prevented them from making changes. This study built on a statewide evaluation of the program conducted in 2007.

Measures were created by drawing on the recommendations found in the literature and from those who conducted similar program follow-up evaluations and by examining previous program participant responses. The diffusion of innovations theory informed the development of question related to barriers.
Approximately three months after students completed the program, the follow-up evaluation assessed behavior changes and barriers in the areas of financial, spending, saving, and educational behavior. A total of 332 students in the 6th through 12th grades from 5 counties in Ohio participated in the study.


This study more clearly identified the impacts of the Real Money, Real World program. Over 80% of participants reported changes in the extent to which they now repay money owed on time, set aside money for the future, and compare prices. Over three-fourths of students indicated they now think more carefully about spending money. Students reported significant changes in their financial behavior after the program, and the effect size was moderate.
Nearly one-third of the students indicated changes in all of the spending practices investigated. In addition, only 2% of students reported making no changes in spending.

In relation to savings behavior, over three-fourths of the students reported that they now understand the importance of saving money. Additionally, two-thirds indicated they now save more money than they did before the program. Over one-third reported changes in all savings practice categories. Only 4% of students indicted they made no changes in their savings.

Students reported changes of more than 50% in over half of the educational practices categories. Students reported the largest increases in discussing their career interests with their family, researching different types of careers, and making changes in their studying habits. Over one-third indicated changes in all the educational practice categories. Only 6% indicated no changes had been made.

Students indicated the spending, saving, and educational barriers they had to adopting recommended practices. In all three areas, students reported averages of one to three barriers, with a higher number reported for changing spending.

Overall, the findings of this study provide evidence that Real Money, Real World presents financial management in a way that appeals to youth. Students learn the advantages of adopting sound financial practices and are actually doing so after the program. The results of this study reveal how follow-up evaluation can be conducted to investigate behavioral changes and barriers to adopting recommended practices. These positive findings serve to encourage the use of the program and for Extension educators to work with schools, communities, and parents in a unified effort to reach youth about financial topics.


Theresa Ferrari, PhD (Advisor)
Scott Scheer, PhD (Committee Member)
243 p.

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Bateson, L. (2009). A Follow-up Study of Ohio State University Extension's Youth Financial Literacy Program Real Money, Real World: Behavioral Changes of Program Participants. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Bateson, Lisa. "A Follow-up Study of Ohio State University Extension's Youth Financial Literacy Program Real Money, Real World: Behavioral Changes of Program Participants." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2009. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 23 Oct 2018.

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Bateson, Lisa "A Follow-up Study of Ohio State University Extension's Youth Financial Literacy Program Real Money, Real World: Behavioral Changes of Program Participants." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2009. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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