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Impaired Financial Capacity in Late-Life Depression: Revisiting Associations with Cognitive Functioning

  • Ruth T. Morin (a1), Mitzi M. Gonzales (a2), David Bickford (a3), Daniel Catalinotto (a3), Craig Nelson (a3) and R. Scott Mackin (a1) (a3)...



Impairment in financial capacity is an early sign of cognitive decline and functional impairment in late life. Cognitive impairments such as executive dysfunction are well documented in late-life major depression; however, little progress has been made in assessing associations of these impairments with financial incapacity.


Participants included 95 clinically depressed and 41 nondepressed older adults without dementia. Financial capacity (assessed with the Managing Money scale of the Independent Living Scale), cognitive functioning (comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation), and depression severity (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale – 24) were assessed. T tests were used to assess group differences. Linear regression was used to analyze data.


Depressed participants performed significantly lower on financial capacity (t = 2.98, p < .01). Among depressed participants, executive functioning (B = .24, p < .05) was associated with reduced financial capacity, controlling for age, gender, education, depression severity, and other cognitive domains.


Our results underscore the importance of assessing financial capacity in older depressed adults as they are likely vulnerable to financial abuse even in the absence of dementia. It will be valuable to assess whether treatment for depression is an effective intervention to improve outcomes.


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to: Ruth T. Morin, San Francisco VA Medical Center, 4150 Clement Street, Mental Health Service, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA. E-mail:


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Impaired Financial Capacity in Late-Life Depression: Revisiting Associations with Cognitive Functioning

  • Ruth T. Morin (a1), Mitzi M. Gonzales (a2), David Bickford (a3), Daniel Catalinotto (a3), Craig Nelson (a3) and R. Scott Mackin (a1) (a3)...


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