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Does trauma impair self-control? Differences in delaying gratification between former indentured child laborers and nontraumatized controls


Simmen-Janevska, Keti; Forstmeier, Simon; Krammer, Sandy; Maercker, Andreas (2015). Does trauma impair self-control? Differences in delaying gratification between former indentured child laborers and nontraumatized controls. Violence and victims, 30(6):1068-1081.

Abstract

Traumatic experiences may affect an individual's ability to exercise self-control, which is an essential characteristic for successfully managing life. As a measure of self-control, we used the delay discounting paradigm, that is, the extent to which a person devalues delayed gratification. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between childhood trauma and delay discounting using a control group design with elderly participants with a mean age of 76.2 years. Swiss former indentured child laborers (n = 103) who had been exposed to trauma during their childhood were compared with nontraumatized controls (n = 50). The trauma exposure group showed a considerably higher preference for immediate smaller rewards than the controls, indicating their lower self-control. A hierarchical regression analysis revealed that a history of abuse, current self-efficacy, and education were significantly associated with delay discounting. Implications for future research are discussed.

Traumatic experiences may affect an individual's ability to exercise self-control, which is an essential characteristic for successfully managing life. As a measure of self-control, we used the delay discounting paradigm, that is, the extent to which a person devalues delayed gratification. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between childhood trauma and delay discounting using a control group design with elderly participants with a mean age of 76.2 years. Swiss former indentured child laborers (n = 103) who had been exposed to trauma during their childhood were compared with nontraumatized controls (n = 50). The trauma exposure group showed a considerably higher preference for immediate smaller rewards than the controls, indicating their lower self-control. A hierarchical regression analysis revealed that a history of abuse, current self-efficacy, and education were significantly associated with delay discounting. Implications for future research are discussed.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:DoktoratPsych Erstautor
Language:English
Date:5 October 2015
Deposited On:20 Nov 2015 13:17
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:33
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0886-6708
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1891/0886-6708.VV-D-13-00174
PubMed ID:26440574

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