- Luisa Blanco, PhD, MBA
- April Thames, PhD
- Isaias Hernandez
Research Project Description
Financial instability is a major public health issue due to its detrimental effects on mental health. Ethnic-racial minorities are disproportionately impacted and have limited resources for financial management. In response to this problem, we propose a randomized controlled trial to test the effectiveness of a mobile intervention for financial management and the impact of such intervention on self-reported stress and self-efficacy in a sample of low to moderate income Hispanics who are receiving services with the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF). The specific aims and hypotheses of our project are the following: 1) Test the effectiveness of a mobile-based financial capability intervention (in English and Spanish) in comparison to the standard in-person financial capability program on behavioral changes (i.e., improved spending, saving, borrowing, and planning). Our hypothesis is that participants in the mobile intervention group will demonstrate greater behavioral change than participants in the standard financial capability group. 2) Determine if changes in behaviors that demonstrate improvement in financial capability reduce self-reported stress and increase in self-efficacy. Our second hypothesis is that participants who demonstrate behavioral changes (increased financial capability) as a result of intervention will report greater psychological self-efficacy towards finance management and less stress than participants with no behavioral change. We will recruit 150 participants in Los Angeles that will be randomized to either an in-person financial capability program or mobile-based intervention group that will provide weekly education and financial exercises via mobile phone.
Luisa Blanco, PhD, MBA
Luisa Blanco is an Associate Professor of Economics at Pepperdine University School of Public Policy. She specializes in development and international economics, with a focus on Latin America. Her research interests pertain to the wellbeing of Latin Americans at home and abroad. Blanco is currently working on the area of consumer finance and the finance-health link, with a focus on minorities in the United States.
April Thames, PhD
Dr. Thames is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Southern California. As Principal Investigator of several grant-supported projects, Dr. Thames has developed a research program that focuses on social and biological determinants of brain health, including neurological, cognitive, and mental health outcomes.
Isaias Hernandez serves as the Community Development Director of the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF). He focuses primarily on developing, fundraising, and implementing comprehensive grant-based economic empowerment programs and services throughout the agency that impact low-income families in the East and Southeast region of Los Angeles County. His key responsibilities include full oversight of MAOF’s immigration, employment and financial capability services; grant management of a dozen public and private contracts; building and cultivating key funder and government relations; and, monitoring legislative and regulatory policy impacts affecting communities serviced by MAOF.