Abstract

The purpose of this paper was to develop a valid and reliable measure of financial strain for use with college-attending young adults in Ukraine. The newly developed measure represents an alternative approach to currently used objective measures of poverty and economic hardship. Objective measures are not adequate or applicable for use with Ukrainian young adults who are mainly dependent on their families for economic support. Financial strain was conceptualized as the financial adjustments that young adults have to make to meet their basic housing, food and clothing needs. Items were generated to capture the construct of financial strain, and content validity of the scale was assessed. Exploratory factor analysis strongly supported the unidimensional nature of the scale. In addition, findings from simultaneous multiple-group confirmatory factor analyses indicated configural, metric and factor invariance of the measure across the southern and central regions of Ukraine. The new measure of financial strain was positively correlated with emotional distress and violence against romantic partners, indicating good predictive validity. The scale also showed good internal consistency. We suggest that the new measure is appropriate to use with young adults in other Eastern European countries in transition.