Cognition and Financial Decision-Making in Older Adult Spouses

Sarah P. Coundouris, Sylvain Hohn, Anup Basu, Uwe Dulleck, Julie D. Henry, Nicolas Cherbuin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Age-related decline in executive functioning has been found to negatively impact one's capacity to make prudent financial decisions. The broader literature also speaks to the importance of considering interrelatedness in older spouses' functioning, as these individuals typically represent one's longest and closest relationship that involves an extended history of shared experiences. Accordingly, the aim of the present study was to provide the first examination of whether older adults' financial decision-making capacity is impacted not only by their own but also by their partner's, level of cognitive functioning. Method: Sixty-three heterosexual spousal dyads comprising older adults aged 60-88 participated. The contribution of executive functioning and perceptions of partner's cognitive decline on financial decision-making behavior and financial competency was assessed through two actor-partner interdependence models. Results: As predicted, for both genders, one's own executive functioning was predictive of one's own financial decision-making capacity. However, of particular interest was the finding that for females (but not males) perceiving greater cognitive decline in their spouse predicted their own (greater) financial competency. Conclusion: Examining whether partner interdependence extends to the realm of financial decision-making is not only a theoretically but also practically important question. These data provide initial insights that such a relationship does exist and highlight further important avenues for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
Issue number9
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 May 2023
Externally publishedYes


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