Here are factors associated with money management problems

Study explores factors affecting money management skills.

Washington: Only a few studies have addressed the issue of money management, which can have a substantial impact on the quality of life. A team of rehabilitation researchers has identified factors associated with the money management problems experienced by some individuals with multiple sclerosis -- potentially disabling disease of the nervous system.

The authors are Yael Goverover, OTR/L, PhD, OT, of New York University and Kessler Foundation, and Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, and John DeLuca, PhD, of Kessler Foundation. Researchers enrolled 72 participants with multiple sclerosis, aged 18 to 65 years, and 26 healthy controls.

To examine the association between money management difficulties and cognitive, motor, and emotional factors, researchers tested all participants for cognitive skills, depression and anxiety, and upper and lower limb motor function.

Money management skills were assessed with two methods: KF-Actual Reality, a performance-based assessment developed at Kessler Foundation that tests five behaviours essential to money management by tasking the participant with an actual task - making an online purchase, and a money management questionnaire developed for use in individuals with brain injury.

Based on their performance, the participants with MS were grouped as efficient (MS Efficient-MM) or inefficient money managers (MS Inefficient-MM). Overall, the healthy control group performed better than both MS groups. Of the three groups, the MS Inefficient-MM group scored lowest on measures of cognitive and motor skills, and highest on affective symptomatology.

Researchers identified two factors associated with efficient money management: good executive functioning and low depressive symptomatology. "It is important to note that these factors characterised the healthy controls and the MS Efficient-MM group," said Dr Goverover, the lead author, "indicating that money management difficulties affect a subset and not the MS population as a whole."

The association of money management difficulties with depressive symptomatology is a new finding, according to Dr Goverover, and further research is warranted into what may be a key predictor for these difficulties in the MS population.

"Owing money, paying bills late, making impulse purchases, running out of money for essentials -- these behaviours adversely affect the ability to function independently in everyday life. Knowing the factors that underlie money management problems will enable providers to identify those at risk and counsel caregivers to intervene effectively to minimise negative behaviours."

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