Completing Debt Management Plans in Credit Counseling: An Application of the Theory of Planned Behavior

17 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2013

See all articles by Jing Jian Xiao

Jing Jian Xiao

University of Rhode Island

Gavin Wu

Fayetteville State University


Psychological factors associated with consumer behavior in completing debt management plans (DMPs) in credit counseling were identified. Guided by the theory of planned behavior, the study used a unique data set combining the survey data along with plan completion status data from a sample of clients of a national credit counseling agency. Findings suggest that consumers are more likely to report their intentions toward completing a DMP when they view completion favorably and anticipate completing the plan with ease, compared to those who view completion negatively and anticipate difficulty in completing a plan. In turn, the study shows that consumers’ behavioral intentions directly affect their behavior — in this case, DMP completion. Furthermore, some evidence suggests that satisfaction with plan services increases consumers’ intentions to complete a plan, and also that their perceived control directly and positively affects plan completion behavior. Study findings can be used by credit counselors and educators to develop strategies to help clients successfully complete their DMPs.

Keywords: credit counseling, debt behavior, debt management plan, theory of planned behavior

Suggested Citation

Xiao, Jing Jian and Wu, Gavin, Completing Debt Management Plans in Credit Counseling: An Application of the Theory of Planned Behavior. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, Vol. 19, No. 2, 2008, Available at SSRN:

Jing Jian Xiao (Contact Author)

University of Rhode Island ( email )

Transition Center
Kingston, RI 02881
United States
401-874-2547 (Phone)
401-874-4020 (Fax)


Gavin Wu

Fayetteville State University ( email )

Department of Graduate and Professional Studies
in Business
Fayetteville, NC NC 28301
United States

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