Iowa Gambling Task performance and executive function predict low-income urban preadolescents' risky behaviors

Alexandra Ursache, C. Cybele Raver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study examines preadolescents' reports of risk-taking as predicted by two different, but related inhibitory control systems involving sensitivity to reward and loss on the one hand, and higher order processing in the context of cognitive conflict, known as executive functioning (EF), on the other. Importantly, this study examines these processes with a sample of inner-city, low-income preadolescents and as such examines the ways in which these processes may be related to risky behaviors as a function of children's levels of both concurrent and chronic exposure to household poverty. As part of a larger longitudinal study, 382 children (ages 9-11) provided a self-report of risky behaviors and participated in the Iowa Gambling Task, assessing bias for infrequent loss (preference for infrequent, high magnitude versus frequent, low magnitude loss) and the Hearts and Flowers task assessing executive functioning. Results demonstrated that a higher bias for infrequent loss was associated with higher risky behaviors for children who demonstrated lower EF. Furthermore, bias for infrequent loss was most strongly associated with higher risk-taking for children facing highest levels of poverty. Implications for early identification and prevention of risk-taking in inner-city preadolescents are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume79
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

Keywords

  • Executive function
  • Iowa Gambling Task
  • Preadolescents
  • Risk behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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