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Increased Delay Discounting on a Novel Real-Time Task among Girls, but not Boys, with ADHD

  • Keri S. Rosch (a1) and Stewart H. Mostofsky (a2)

The aim of this study was to examine delay discounting in girls and boys with ADHD-Combined type (ADHD-C) relative to typically developing (TD) children on two tasks that differ in the extent to which the rewards and delays were experienced by participants. Children ages 8–12 years with ADHD-C (n=65; 19 girls) and TD controls (n=55; 15 girls) completed two delay discounting tasks involving a series of choices between smaller, immediate and larger, delayed rewards. The classic delay discounting task involved choices about money at delays of 1–90 days and only some of the outcomes were actually experienced by the participants. The novel real-time discounting task involved choices about an immediately consumable reward (playing a preferred game) at delays of 25–100 s, all of which were actually experienced by participants. Participants also provided subjective ratings of how much they liked playing the game and waiting to play. Girls with ADHD-C displayed greater delay discounting compared to boys with ADHD-C and TD girls and boys on the real-time discounting task. Diagnostic group differences were not evident on the classic discounting task. In addition, children with ADHD-C reported wanting to play the game more and liking waiting to play the game less than TD children. This novel demonstration of greater delay discounting among girls with ADHD-C on a discounting task in which the rewards are immediately consumable and the delays are experienced in real-time informs our understanding of sex differences and motivational processes in children with ADHD. (JINS, 2016, 22, 12–23)

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Correspondence and reprint requests to: Keri Rosch, 716 North Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21205. E-mail:
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