Intergenerational transmission of delay discounting: The mediating role of household chaos
Number of pages
SourceJournal of Adolescence, 72, (2019), pp. 83-90
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OGG
Journal of Adolescence
Introduction: Adolescence is a period when impulsive decision making may be especially vulnerable to environmental influences. Impulsive decision making is often assessed using a delay discounting paradigm, which measures the preference for smaller rewards sooner over larger rewards with a delay. Research is needed to clarify the relationship between parents' and adolescents' delay discounting and to identify related environmental processes that might facilitate the intergenerational transmission of delay discounting. The current prospective longitudinal study examined the competing mediating processes of household chaos and harsh parenting in the intergenerational transmission of delay discounting between parents and adolescents. Methods: Participants included 167 adolescents (mean age = 14.07 years at Time 1; 53% male) and their parents (mean age = 41.98 years at Time 1; 87% female) recruited from the southeast United States. Parents' delay discounting was collected at Time 1, and adolescents' delay discounting was collected both at Time 1 and at Time 3 via a computerized delay discounting task. Parents and adolescents reported household chaos and harsh parenting at Time 2. Results: A parallel mediation model indicated that parents' delay discounting at Time 1 indirectly predicted adolescents' delay discounting Time 3 residualized change scores (regressing Time 3 delay discounting onto baseline delay discounting) through household chaos but not through harsh parenting at Time 2. Conclusions: These results underline the importance of household chaos in facilitating the intergenerational transmission of delay discounting between parents and adolescents. Furthermore, our findings point to household chaos as a potential environmental target for interrupting intergenerational impulsivity.
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