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The delay of gratification test for adults: Validating a behavioral measure of self-motivation in a sample of older people


Forstmeier, Simon; Drobetz, R; Maercker, Andreas (2011). The delay of gratification test for adults: Validating a behavioral measure of self-motivation in a sample of older people. Motivation and Emotion, 35(2):118-134.

Abstract

Most previous delay of gratification tests were developed for children and are inappropriate for application in adults. The authors therefore developed the Delay of Gratification Test for Adults (DoG-A), which includes four types of reward that are meaningful to adults, namely snacks, real money, hypothetical money, and magazines. Four subscores and two composite scores can be calculated. This study is the first to evaluate the DoG-A and to investigate its association with external variables. A community sample of 147 cognitively healthy participants aged between 60 and 94 years completed a questionnaire and cognitive tests measuring delay discounting, self-regulation, motivational self-concept, personality, wellbeing, and cognitive function. The intercorrelations of the subscales were low to medium and the internal consistency of the composite scores was moderate (α = 0.4), indicating relative domain independence of the four reward types. The nomological net established by investigating the relations of the DoG-A with other constructs proved to be fairly meaningful. The correlations of all subscales with the delay discounting rate were significant and moderate. The Snacks subscale showed the most consistent pattern of results in terms of moderate positive correlations with self-reported motivation regulation, optimism, dutifulness, and deliberation. The Snacks subscale also correlated with various measures of wellbeing. A regression analysis showed that DoG Snacks remained a significant predictor of wellbeing when self-reported self-regulation and other variables were controlled. These findings indicate that the DoG-A yields an interpretable behavioral measure of self-motivation and offers a developmentally adequate extension of the delay of gratification paradigm for use with adults.

Abstract

Most previous delay of gratification tests were developed for children and are inappropriate for application in adults. The authors therefore developed the Delay of Gratification Test for Adults (DoG-A), which includes four types of reward that are meaningful to adults, namely snacks, real money, hypothetical money, and magazines. Four subscores and two composite scores can be calculated. This study is the first to evaluate the DoG-A and to investigate its association with external variables. A community sample of 147 cognitively healthy participants aged between 60 and 94 years completed a questionnaire and cognitive tests measuring delay discounting, self-regulation, motivational self-concept, personality, wellbeing, and cognitive function. The intercorrelations of the subscales were low to medium and the internal consistency of the composite scores was moderate (α = 0.4), indicating relative domain independence of the four reward types. The nomological net established by investigating the relations of the DoG-A with other constructs proved to be fairly meaningful. The correlations of all subscales with the delay discounting rate were significant and moderate. The Snacks subscale showed the most consistent pattern of results in terms of moderate positive correlations with self-reported motivation regulation, optimism, dutifulness, and deliberation. The Snacks subscale also correlated with various measures of wellbeing. A regression analysis showed that DoG Snacks remained a significant predictor of wellbeing when self-reported self-regulation and other variables were controlled. These findings indicate that the DoG-A yields an interpretable behavioral measure of self-motivation and offers a developmentally adequate extension of the delay of gratification paradigm for use with adults.

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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
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:01 Feb 2012 11:16
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:21
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0146-7239
Additional Information:The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-011-9213-1

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