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Gibson, S. C. (2022). Understanding decisional capacities of older adults. In Comprehensive Clinical Psychology, 2nd Edition, Elsevier.
This chapter explores the biopsychosocial, legal, and ethical aspects associated with understanding and assessing decisional capacities in older adults. It also presents a historical context for capacity as a medical-psycholegal construct with a review of instruments used in the assessment of specific domains of capacity such as consenting to medical treatment and financial decision-making. In addition, this chapter presents information on structuring a capacity report, issues relevant to providing expert testimony, and two models for resolving complex ethical quandaries that arise in assessment and intervening with persons with diminished capacity.
Gibson, S. C. (2020). Geropsychology supervision: Building knowledge and competence around elder abuse and neglect, The Clinical Psychologist, Summer edition.
Gibson, S.C. & Lim, M. (2017). Aging in the Legal System. In B.P.Yochim & E. L. Woodhead (Eds.) Psychology and Aging: A biopsychosocial perspective, pp. 323-342.
Gibson, S. C. & Greene, E. (2013). Assessing knowledge of elder financial abuse: The first step in enhancing prosecutions. The Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect, 24 (4).
Financial exploitation by a family member is the most common form of elder mistreatment; yet, it is a difficult crime to detect and prosecute. Psychologists have traditionally assisted prosecutors by assessing decisional capacity and opining in court whether an alleged victim was able to consent to the contested transactions. This article proposes and evaluates a novel form of psychological expertise in financial abuse trials—social framework testimony to reeducate jurors who are misinformed about aspects of this largely hidden crime. Findings suggest that, as in cases of child and spousal abuse, social framework testimony on the general dispositional and situational factors inherent in elder financial abuse may enhance prosecutions.
Greene, E., & Gibson, S. C. (2013). Experiences of older adults in the legal system. Chapter in M. Miller & B. Bornstein (eds.), Trauma, Stress, and Wellbeing in the Legal System. New York: Oxford.
Gibson, S. C. & Qualls, S. H. (2012). A family systems’ perspective on elder financial abuse. Generations, 36(3).
The complex web of family relationships and dependencies sometimes enables elder financial abuse—whether wittingly or not.
Greene, E., Fogler, K., & Gibson, S.C. (2012). Do people comprehend legal language in wills? Journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology, doi: 10.1002/acp.2819
This study assessed the ability of laypeople to understand a document that most have read and signed: a last will and testament. We focused on concepts that are frequently included in wills, examined whether understanding can be enhanced by psycholinguistic revisions, and assessed comprehension as a function of age. Participants ages 32 to 89 years read will-related concepts in (i) their traditional format, (ii) a version revised to increase readability, or (iii) a version in which, in addition to those changes, we explained archaic and legal terms. Results showed that increasing the readability and explaining terms enhanced participants' abilities to apply will-related concepts to novel fact patterns and to explain their reasoning. We found no age-related effects on comprehension, consistent with well-documented findings that processing at the situation level of text comprehension is preserved in older adults. We discuss the implications of these findings and suggest ideas for further research. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Gibson, S.C. (2018). Nurturing the “Third-Shifters”: Helping Ourselves to Help Others. Prime Magazine, Singapore.
Gibson, S. C. & Irani, M. (2014). Taking Care of Your Inner “Bah-Humbug!” Life After 50.
Gibson, S. C. (2010). What are geropsychologists and why should you care? Their role in enhancing your practice. American Bar Association Voice of Experience, 22, 8-9.
A geropsychologist is one such clinician who is knowledgeable about facets specific to aging, assessment tools that most accurately examine cognitive functioning relative to issues of capacity, and interventions that can maximize capacity. Geropsychologists view the whole person using assessment information from health care providers, neuropsychologists, and other informants. This holistic approach involves an appreciation of cognitive functioning as it relates to aging with an understanding of situational and environmental stressors that likely contribute to changes in behavior.
Gibson, S. C. (2008). Financial abuse of the elderly. Life After 50, p. A5.
Gibson, S. C., & Greene, E. (2007) Financial abuse of the elderly: Under-reported and infrequently-prosecuted.
Sheri Gibson, Ph.D., L.L.C.
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