Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School


First Advisor

Rusty McIntyre, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Natalie Dove, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Ann R. Eisenberg, Ph.D.


Does having control over how you spend your money influence happiness? Prior research has asked to what extent money positively influences happiness and about the factors/contexts that make it so. This study examines one of those factors on how individual reports of happiness and positive affect are influenced by the realization of financial independence (having the ability to make fully independent decisions on how one spends their finances). It was hypothesized that people who have financial independence (or imagine having that independence) will be more likely to report greater amounts of happiness and positive affect after thinking about finances, as compared to people who do not have such independence (or imagine not having that independence). In the study, 109 participants were randomly assigned and surveyed on three different conditions: to spontaneously think about their financial independence/dependence, to describe what it would look like having, and what it would look like not having financial independence. Afterwards, all participants were evaluated on their well-being (SPANE scale), positive and negative affect (PANAS scale, and their sense of autonomy over their life and other decisions (CASE inventory). Additionally, personality attributes were examined in a brief 10- item measure. Finally, all participants completed a series of related demographic questions, and then were given a debriefing statement about the nature of the research. The results did show significant results on positive items of the SPANE scale to support our hypothesis that thinking one has financial autonomy was related with happiness.

Included in

Psychology Commons