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Temptation's itch: Mindlessness, acceptance, and mindfulness in a debt management program


This study examines the experience of temptation through the accounts of consumers who have entered a debt management plan (DMP). During 12 weeks, participants reported weekly temptations. The results are consistent with socio-cognitive theory; participants with higher self-efficacy are better able to manage their emotions, resist justifications connected with entitlement, and perceive their difficult circumstances as providing them the opportunity to develop new financial skills and an improved financial identity. The results show that DMP consumers engage in three patterns of responses to temptation that vary in degree of self-efficacy: mindlessness, acceptance, and mindfulness. The highest level of self-efficacy and success in the DMP is associated with mindfulness, as these participants feel pride when they “work the program” and resist temptation.

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