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Item Response Theory Analysis of the Lichtenberg Financial Decision Screening Scale

NCJ Number
Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect Volume: 29 Issue: 4 Dated: August-October 2017 Pages: 213-228
Date Published
October 2017
16 pages
These analyses examined the psychometric properties of the Lichtenberg Financial Decision Screening Scale (LDFSS), whose purpose is to assess the financial decisionmaking abilities and vulnerability to exploitation of older adults.

Adults ages 60 and over were interviewed by social, legal, financial, or health services professionals who underwent in-person training on the administration and scoring of the scale. Professionals provided a rating of the decisionmaking abilities of the older adults. The analytical sample included 213 individuals with an average age of 76.9 (s.d.=10.1). The majority (57 percent) were female. Data were analyzed using item response theory (IRT) methodology; several forms of the measure were evaluated. The results supported the unidimensionality of the item set. Several IRT models were tested. Ten ordinal and binary items evidenced a slightly higher reliability estimate (0.85), than the other versions, and there was better coverage in terms of the range of reliable measurement across the continuum of financial incapacity for this model as compared to other models. The most informative items in this model were "What is the purpose of your decision?", and "What is the primary financial goal?" The least informative items in the same model were: "Who benefits most from this financial decision?"; "Does this decision change previous planned gifts or bequests to family, friends, or organizations?"; and "Was this your idea or did someone suggest it or accompany you?" The shorter and/or binary versions of the instrument may be adequate, depending on the context. The LDFSS performed well in terms of IRT reliability and information provided and can be recommended as a short screen for financial decisionmaking capability and vulnerability to exploitation. 9 figures, 2 tables, and 14 references

Date Published: October 1, 2017