Predictors of Financial Capacity After Traumatic Brain Injury

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Activities of daily living, such as the ability to manage finances, can be significantly impacted by a traumatic brain injury. Injury to certain parts of the brain can predispose a person to an inability to manage tasks such as balancing a checkbook, budgeting, paying bills, or making financial decisions. Past research has shown that people with a brain injury are more likely to make excessive ATM withdrawals, pay bills late, and spend money impulsively or inappropriately.

A recent study found three cognitive predictors of reduced financial capacity after traumatic brain injury. These were:

1. An inability to complete mental arithmetic
2. Reduced working memory (very short-term memory, such as remembering a string of numbers or words)
3. Impaired executive function (problem-solving or decision-making tasks)

People who show impairment in these tasks during a neuropsychological evaluation should be given some intervention strategies that could help reduce potential financial problems.

Martin RC, Triebel K, Dreer LE, et al. Neurocognitive predictors of financial capacity in traumatic brain injury. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. (December 2012).