Delay Discounting of Monetary Outcomes by Detained Male Adolescents and College Students
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
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The main purpose of this study was to compare delay discounting of hypothetical monetary outcomes by adolescents adjudicated of illegal behavior to that of college students in order to lay a foundation for future discounting work with adjudicated adolescents. It is important to note that we conducted this work during the COVID-19 pandemic, which influenced the methodology due to constraints. We administered a hypothetical monetary delay-discounting task to three groups: (1) adjudicated adolescent males, (2) college student males, and (3) college student females. Using a least squares nonlinear regression, we then fit the following models to each data set both individually and at the group level: (a) exponential, (b) hyperbolic, and (c) hyperboloid. Thereafter, we determined the best fitting model for individual data sets and group data using the Information-Theoretic approach. Results showed that the hyperboloid model was the best fitting model for mean data across all groups. There was variability in the best fitting model for individual data within all groups. We also found that members of Group 1 discounted delayed monetary outcomes more steeply than members of Groups 2 and 3, which showed no differences. Overall, results showed that delay discounting by adjudicated adolescents is a research area worthy of future attention. Findings from this study will inform future work on delay discounting by justice-involved youth and may help to inform treatment of this population in the future.