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Probing the limits of delay intolerance: preliminary young adult data from the Delay Frustration Task (DeFT)

Probing the limits of delay intolerance: preliminary young adult data from the Delay Frustration Task (DeFT)
Probing the limits of delay intolerance: preliminary young adult data from the Delay Frustration Task (DeFT)
Delay intolerance/aversion is one amongst a number of candidate neuropsychological endophenotypes for ADHD. Pilot data suggest that, because of potential ceiling effects, simple choice measures of delay tolerance used for children are probably not appropriate for adolescents and adults. The Delay Frustration Task (DeFT) is a new measure of delay intolerance, designed to be used in a similar form with adolescents and adults as well as children. In it delay frustration is indexed as the number and duration of responses made on a response key during a series of unpredictable and unsignalled delay periods, which interrupt the completion of a simple computer-based tests. The aim of this study was to provide preliminary data on the applicability of the task in a sample of young adults. The DeFT was administered to 49 male and female undergraduate students selected from a normal population-base. Their mean age was 23.14 (S.D. = 1.54). Three measures of delay frustration were recorded across time intervals during the response window; the number of responses, their duration and their combined product (total time button was pressed) was calculated for each second interval bin during the post-response delay period. The AARS and HADS were used as screening questionnaires for ADHD and anxiety behaviour, respectively. The results indicated that young adults with high-ADHD symptoms scores pressed the button more than those with low ADHD scores during the post-response delay condition. While both groups increased responding across time within intervals this was significantly more marked in the high-ADHD symptom group. These effects became more pronounced when anxiety was controlled. Young adults with high-ADHD symptoms appear to be more sensitive to the imposition of unscheduled and unsignalled delay during a simple maths test. DeFT may provide a useful index of delay tolerance in young adults with ADHD. Future research needs to examine DeFT performance in different age groups and in clinical and non-clinical populations.
ADHD, anxiety, average duration, Delay Frustration Task, delay intolerance, response frequency, young adults
0165-0270
38-44
Bitsakou, Paraskevi
68ff8113-a215-4cee-9897-a047acdc65e8
Antrop, Inge
74299648-d0ef-495f-a1aa-375e4252bf6a
Wiersema, Jan Roelf
b358cc97-6143-4b35-9e36-5d6c1c0cf866
Sonuga-Barke, Edmund J.S.
bc80bf95-6cf9-4c76-a09d-eaaf0b717635
Bitsakou, Paraskevi
68ff8113-a215-4cee-9897-a047acdc65e8
Antrop, Inge
74299648-d0ef-495f-a1aa-375e4252bf6a
Wiersema, Jan Roelf
b358cc97-6143-4b35-9e36-5d6c1c0cf866
Sonuga-Barke, Edmund J.S.
bc80bf95-6cf9-4c76-a09d-eaaf0b717635

Bitsakou, Paraskevi, Antrop, Inge, Wiersema, Jan Roelf and Sonuga-Barke, Edmund J.S. (2006) Probing the limits of delay intolerance: preliminary young adult data from the Delay Frustration Task (DeFT). Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 151 (1), 38-44. (doi:10.1016/j.jneumeth.2005.06.031).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Delay intolerance/aversion is one amongst a number of candidate neuropsychological endophenotypes for ADHD. Pilot data suggest that, because of potential ceiling effects, simple choice measures of delay tolerance used for children are probably not appropriate for adolescents and adults. The Delay Frustration Task (DeFT) is a new measure of delay intolerance, designed to be used in a similar form with adolescents and adults as well as children. In it delay frustration is indexed as the number and duration of responses made on a response key during a series of unpredictable and unsignalled delay periods, which interrupt the completion of a simple computer-based tests. The aim of this study was to provide preliminary data on the applicability of the task in a sample of young adults. The DeFT was administered to 49 male and female undergraduate students selected from a normal population-base. Their mean age was 23.14 (S.D. = 1.54). Three measures of delay frustration were recorded across time intervals during the response window; the number of responses, their duration and their combined product (total time button was pressed) was calculated for each second interval bin during the post-response delay period. The AARS and HADS were used as screening questionnaires for ADHD and anxiety behaviour, respectively. The results indicated that young adults with high-ADHD symptoms scores pressed the button more than those with low ADHD scores during the post-response delay condition. While both groups increased responding across time within intervals this was significantly more marked in the high-ADHD symptom group. These effects became more pronounced when anxiety was controlled. Young adults with high-ADHD symptoms appear to be more sensitive to the imposition of unscheduled and unsignalled delay during a simple maths test. DeFT may provide a useful index of delay tolerance in young adults with ADHD. Future research needs to examine DeFT performance in different age groups and in clinical and non-clinical populations.

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More information

Published date: 15 February 2006
Keywords: ADHD, anxiety, average duration, Delay Frustration Task, delay intolerance, response frequency, young adults

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 48258
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/48258
ISSN: 0165-0270
PURE UUID: 7fa69d66-d4f4-4cf5-9d6e-75851037743e

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Date deposited: 06 Sep 2007
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 20:57

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