Delay Discounting of Losses in Alcohol Use Disorders and Antisocial Psychopathology: Effects of a Working Memory Load

Background: Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are associated with increased discounting of delayed rewards and reduced executive working memory (eWM) capacity. This association is amplified when comorbid with antisocial psychopathology (AP). Furthermore, recent studies suggest that reduced WM capacity is associated with disinhibited decisions reflected by increased impulsive decision-making on the delay discounting of rewards task. While discounting of delayed rewards is well studied, the discounting of delayed losses (DDL) has received significantly less experimental attention. Methods: The current study investigated: 1) the rate of DDL in individuals with AUD only (n=61), AUD with comorbid AP (n=79) and healthy controls (n=64); 2) the relationship between eWM capacity and discounting of delayed losses; and 3) the effect of a WM load on discounting of delayed losses. Discounting performance was assessed using a computerized discounting of delayed losses task. Results: Results showed that the AUD-only and AUD-AP groups had higher rates of DDL and lower eWM capacity compared to the control groups. Lower individual eWM capacity was associated with increased discounting of delayed losses. However, WM load did not increase discounting rates overall. Conclusions: These results support the hypothesis that greater discounting of delayed losses is associated with AUD and comorbid AP problems and lower individual eWM capacity.

Publication Date:
Sep 08 2017
Date Submitted:
Feb 27 2019
Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, 41, 10
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 Record created 2019-02-27, last modified 2019-04-03

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