The psychological inventory of financial scarcity (PIFS): a psychometric evaluation


In nine studies (total N = 12,249), we evaluated the psychometric properties of the Psychological Inventory of Financial Scarcity (PIFS). The PIFS assesses experienced financial scarcity and captures four aspects of this subjective experience: an appraisal of insufficient financial resources, an appraisal of lack of control over one’s financial situation, financial rumination and worry, and a short-term focus.


Results showed that the PIFS has a good internal consistency (Studies 1-5) and a good test-retest reliability (Study 6). Factor analyses indicated that, as intended, the PIFS can be used both as a one-factor scale and a four-factor scale (Studies 1-5). The predictive and concurrent validity of the PIFS was supported by expected relations with executive functioning (Studies 7-8). Furthermore, results showed that scores on the PIFS explain variance in psychological well-being (mental health, self-esteem, and life satisfaction) over and above personality traits and demographic variables (including income) and mediate the relationship between financial problems and psychological well-being (Study 9).

Together, our evaluation indicates that the PIFS is a reliable and valid measure of experienced financial scarcity, and a helpful instrument to study the impact of financial hardship on people’s lives.

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