Researchers explore factors affecting money management skills in multiple sclerosis

Kessler Foundation research team identifies executive dysfunction and depression as factors affecting the ability of a subsample of individuals with multiple sclerosis to manage money efficiently

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Credit: Kessler Foundation/Nicky Miller

East Hanover, NJ. December 16, 2019. A team of rehabilitation researchers identified factors associated with the money management problems experienced by some individuals with multiple sclerosis. Few studies have addressed this issue, which can have substantial impact on quality of life. The open access article, “Money management in multiple sclerosis: The role of cognitive, motor, and affective factors”, (doi: 10.3389/neur.2019.01128) was epublished on October 23, 2019 by Frontiers in Neurology.

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.

Open access link: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fneur.2019.01128/full

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: 1) KF-Actual Reality™, a performance-based assessment developed at Kessler Foundation that tests five behaviors essential to money management by tasking the participant with an actual task – making an online purchase, and 2) 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 characterized 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. “Difficulties with managing money can have serious financial, legal, and psychological consequences for individuals and their caregivers,” she emphasized. “Owing money, paying bills late, making impulse purchases, running out of money for essentials – these behaviors 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 minimize negative behaviors.”

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Funded by an Investigator-initiated grant from Biogen (US-MG-13-10511)

About MS Research at Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation’s cognitive rehabilitation research in MS is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, National MS Society, Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers, the Patterson Trust, Biogen Idec, Hearst Foundations, the International Progressive MS Alliance, and Kessler Foundation. Under the leadership of John DeLuca, PhD, senior VP for Research & Training, and Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, director of the Centers for Neuropsychology, Neuroscience and Traumatic Brain Injury Research, scientists have made important contributions to the knowledge of cognitive decline in MS and developed new treatments. Clinical studies span cognitive function, mobility, employment and cognitive fatigue. Research tools include innovative applications of neuroimaging, mobile devices, eye-tracking, EEG, and virtual reality. Neuroimaging studies are conducted at the research-dedicated Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center at Kessler Foundation. Kessler researchers and clinicians have faculty appointments in the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit KesslerFoundation.org.

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Related Journal Article

http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/neur.2019.01128

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