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Buying behavior, social support and credit card indebtedness of college students


Jing Jian Xiao University of Rhode Island, Transition Center, Kingston, RI, USA. E-mail:


This research examines three factors that are associated with college students' credit card indebtedness. Using survey data, we find that college students' buying patterns and social networks affect their credit card indebtedness. Specifically, students with a tendency towards compulsive buying are more likely and those with greater social support are less likely to hold credit card debts. Depth interview data further illustrate the contexts and causes of overusing credit cards as well as solutions for their debt problem. This research sheds light on reasons why college students fall into credit card debt and suggests strategies for helping them use credit cards wisely.