Publication Date



The hard times resulting from the 2008 recession represent an opportunity to re-examine the theoretical framework for how families use economic resources to adjust and adapt to stress. Sherraden’s (1991) theory of assets and McCubbin and Patterson’s (1983) Family Adjustment and Adaptation Response (FAAR) model are used to demonstrate how assets relate to family stressors and demands among a sample of 839 low-income families. The negative relationship between assets and financial stressors and financial strain suggest that the expansion of social welfare policies promoting assets among low-income families may positively influence family relations. Future research on family relations would benefit from measuring assets as economic resources and testing how assets affect family investments.

Document Type

Working Paper


Financial Inclusion


Asset Building


Subsequent publication: Rothwell, D. W., & Han, C.-K. (2010). Exploring the relationship between assets and family stress among low-income families. Family Relations, 59(4), 396-407. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3729.2010.00611.x

Original Citation

Rothwell, D., & Han, C.-K. (2009). Assets as a resource variable in the stress management of low-income families (CSD Working Paper No. 09-50). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.


assets, family, financial stress, low income, theory, economic resources, IDA, individual development, individual development account, matched saving, financial education