Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #323
Social and Health Aspects of Discounting Research
Sunday, May 27, 2018
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Rancho Santa Fe 1-3
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Matt Locey (University of Nevada, Reno)

Recent discounting research has shown that steep discounting is associated with a wide variety of problem behaviors, such as obesity, pathological gambling, and substance abuse. The current set of talks describe in more detail either how different pathological behavior is related to aspects of discounting, or how changing specific aspects of the discounting task can result in measurable changes in discounting. The specific problem behaviors include individuals with extreme body mass index (BMI) levels (both underweight and overweight), pre-diabetes and Type II diabetes. The specific aspect of the discounting task that are manipulated is how the discounting task is described to the participants, as either an individual or group outcome. The current set of talks will show the importance of discounting research in relation to important problem behaviors, and how changes in discounting procedures can change discounting outcomes.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Diabetes, Discounting, Framing, Obesity
Framing Effects on Discounting: Individual and Group Contexts
LAURA BARCELOS NOMICOS (University of Nevada, Reno), Matt Locey (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Correlations between steep delay discounting curves and many forms of pathology (substance abusers, pathological gambler, etc.) suggest that how people answer these types of questions relates to their behavior outside the study environment. Altering how situations are described in discounting questionnaires has also led to differences in responding. In particular, some have attempted to change responding by having the results of the decision affect multiple people rather than just the participant, what has been called “group-context” discounting. This procedure has yielded mixed effects on discounting. Participants in the current study completed an online survey that included both individual and group-context delay discounting questionnaires. Preliminary analysis of the data indicates that framing the outcomes as a group outcome rather than an individual outcome produces small changes in discounting rates. Specifically, the group-context seems to reduce discounting at larger delays (of a year or more). These results have implications for both the social aspects of discounting and how language (framing) influences discounting rate.

The Relationship Between Delay and Social Discounting and Body Mass Index in University Students

KATHERINE WAINWRIGHT (University of Texas, San Antonio), Paul Romanowich (University of Texas, San Antonio)

Delay discounting is associated with body mass index (BMI), with individuals who discount more having higher BMIs. This same relationship was found when a social component was added during a social temporal discounting procedure. However, no study has tested whether the social component by itself is related to BMI. The current study tested the relationships between social discounting, delay discounting, and BMI. Eight hundred seven undergraduates completed delay and social discounting measures, and a demographic questionnaire from which BMI was calculated. Social discounting was not significantly related to age-adjusted or non-age adjusted BMI. However, using non-age-adjusted BMI scores and dichotomizing individuals as either non-obese/obese resulted in a significant relationship between social discounting and BMI in the predicted direction, whereby participants with a higher BMI shared significantly more than non-obese individuals. Consistent with previous research, there was a significant relationship between delay discounting and BMI, and a significant correlation between delay and social discounting. Additionally, participants with low BMI (< 18.5) appeared to substantially contribute to the significant results. The current results replicated a previous delay discounting and BMI relationship, but also demonstrate the need to standardize how BMI is calculated and focus on participants with low BMI in relation to discounting measures.


The Role of Delay Discounting and Impulsivity in Diabetes Self-Care Adherence

PAUL ROMANOWICH (University of Texas, San Antonio), Katherine Wainwright (University of Texas, San Antonio)

Diabetes is a chronic disease requiring extensive self-care such as daily blood glucose monitoring, diet and exercise routine adherence, foot care, and medication self-administration during disease management. Increased delay discounting, and impulsivity more generally, may decrease adherence with these self-care behaviors. To examine the relationship between delay discounting and diabetic self-care behavior, 101 adults (~ age = 51) diagnosed with either prediabetes (n = 51) or Type 2 diabetes (n = 50) completed a delay discounting task, the behavioral inhibition scale (BIS), self-care profiles, a diabetes knowledge test, and a measure of diabetes management self-efficacy. Higher self-reported knowledge levels and self-efficacy both independently predicted better adherence to foot care practices. There was no relationship between delay discounting or BIS and diabetes self-care adherence for participants either diagnosed with prediabetes or Type II diabetes. Although previous research had indicated a relationship between delay discounting and diabetes (Lebeau et al., 2016; Reach et al., 2011), the current results did not replicate those results. There are procedural differences that may explain the discrepant findings. However, the current results are consistent with Stupiansky et al. (2013) who found that diabetes-specific self-efficacy partially mediated the relationship between impulse control and diabetes self-care, when impulse control was self-reported. Future research is needed to identify the exact association between diabetes, self-efficacy for foot care, and impulse control.




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