Child Maltreatment, Delayed Reward Discounting, and Alcohol and Other Drug Use Problems: The Moderating Role of Heart Rate Variability.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Child maltreatment (CM) is robustly associated with youth risk for addictive behaviors, and recent findings suggest that this may be mediated through impulsive discounting of future rewards. However, research indicates that youth self-regulation (emotional and cognitive), particularly in peer contexts, is critical to consider in the study of decision making. This study aimed to examine the indirect link between CM and alcohol and other drug use problems, through delayed reward discounting (DRD), among a community sample of emerging adults. Further, this investigation aimed to examine whether this indirect link was moderated by heart rate variability (HRV), a physiological proxy for regulation of stress reactivity. METHODS:A sample of emerging adults (N = 225; Mage = 21.56; SDage = 2.24; 52.9% female) was assessed at 2 time points, with 1 year between assessments. The sample was comprised of rural emerging adults from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. DRD was examined using a monetary choice task, and HRV reactivity was derived during a social stress task. RESULTS:Increased CM experiences were significantly linked to riskier DRD. HRV reactivity amplified the indirect effect between CM and alcohol use problems via riskier DRD. CONCLUSIONS:The results demonstrate that the connection between CM and alcohol use problems via impulsive decision making is modulated by acute stress response reactivity, as indexed by HRV.
Project description:Prolonged exposure to socioeconomic hardship (SH) is associated with greater delayed reward discounting (DRD), a form of impulsive decision-making that reflects a reduced capacity to delay gratification and a significant correlate of diverse risk behaviors, but the neurobehavioral mechanisms linking SH and DRD are unknown. An emerging hypothesis suggests that cognitive and affective stress associated with poverty may tax neurocognitive functions, such as working memory (WM), and lead to impulsive DRD. Furthermore, research suggests that emotional reactivity (ER) is an important dispositional factor to consider in the link between executive functions and DRD. Thus, we longitudinally examined the indirect effect of SH on impulsive DRD via a network of brain regions associated with WM function in a sample of young adults, and whether that link was moderated by ER. Participants were 119 rural African Americans (aged 19-24 years) assessed behaviorally on four occasions, with fMRI at the last time point. Results showed that, among emerging adults with higher ER, SH severity was predictive of increased DRD via reduced response in brain regions activated during an n-back WM task. These findings reveal both the cognitive and affective mechanisms that underlie the relationship between SH and DRD.
Project description:Impulsive delayed reward discounting (DRD) has been linked to nicotine dependence, but with some inconsistency. This may be related to the considerable variability in the literature with regard to the DRD assessments used, particularly in the case of the reward magnitudes assessed. In addition, previous studies have often not considered concurrent substance use when examining the relationship between DRD and nicotine dependence. The current study sought to further clarify the relationship between DRD and nicotine dependence by characterizing DRD across diverse reward magnitudes and incorporating other substance use. Daily smokers (N = 933) were assessed for DRD preferences across nine reward magnitudes (delayed reward range: $2.50-$850), comorbid substance use, and relevant demographic variables (age, education, income). A significant large effect size magnitude effect was found for DRD, reflecting steeper discounting for smaller delayed rewards, but significant correlations across magnitudes also suggested similar relative levels of discounting. Principal components analysis (PCA) was used to generate a single latent index of discounting across all magnitudes that accounted for 69% of the total variance. In correlation and regression analyses, steeper composite DRD was significantly associated with nicotine dependence severity. This relationship remained statistically significant after incorporating demographic variables and alcohol and illicit drug use. These findings provide evidence of a specific link between impulsive DRD and nicotine dependence and reveal that this association is robust across a broad range of monetary rewards. The study also demonstrates the utility of using PCA to generate latent indices of delay discounting across multiple magnitudes of delayed reward.
Project description:Impulsive delayed reward discounting (DRD) is an important behavioral process in alcohol use disorders (AUDs), reflecting incapacity to delay gratification. Recent work in neuroeconomics has begun to unravel the neural mechanisms supporting DRD, but applications of neuroeconomics in relation to AUDs have been limited. This study examined the neural mechanisms of DRD preferences in AUDs, with emphasis on dissociating activation patterns based on DRD choice type and level of cognitive conflict. Heavy drinking adult men with (n?=?13) and without (n?=?12) a diagnosis of an AUD completed a monetary DRD task during a functional magnetic resonance imaging scan. Participant responses were coded based on choice type (impulsive versus restrained) and level of cognitive conflict (easy versus hard). AUD+ participants exhibited significantly more impulsive DRD decision-making. Significant activation during DRD was found in several decision-making regions, including dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), insula, posterior parietal cortex (PPC), and posterior cingulate. An axis of cognitive conflict was also observed, with hard choices associated with anterior cingulate cortex and easy choices associated with activation in supplementary motor area. AUD+ individuals exhibited significant hyperactivity in regions associated with cognitive control (DLPFC) and prospective thought (PPC) and exhibited less task-related deactivation of areas associated with the brain's default network during DRD decisions. This study provides further clarification of the brain systems supporting DRD in general and in relation to AUDs.
Project description:This review evaluates the viability of delayed reward discounting (DRD), an index of how much an individual devalues a future reward based on its delay in time, for genetically-informed drug abuse prevention. A review of the literature suggests that impulsive DRD is robustly associated with drug addiction and meets most of the criteria for being an endophenotype, albeit with mixed findings for specific molecular genetic influences. Several modes of experimental manipulation have been demonstrated to reduce DRD acutely. These include behavioral strategies, such as mindfulness, reward bundling, and episodic future thinking; pharmacological interventions, including noradrenergic agonists, adrenergic agonists, and multiple monoamine agonists; and neuromodulatory interventions, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation. However, the generalization of these interventions to positive clinical outcomes remains unclear and no studies to date have examined interventions on DRD in the context of prevention. Collectively, these findings suggest it would be premature to target DRD for genetically-informed prevention. Indeed, given the evidence of environmental contributions to impulsive DRD, whether genetically-informed secondary prevention would ever be warranted is debatable. Progress in identifying polymorphisms associated with DRD profiles could further clarify the underlying biological systems for pharmacological and neuromodulatory interventions, and, as a qualitatively different risk factor from existing prevention programs, impulsive DRD is worthy of investigation at a more general level as a novel and promising drug abuse prevention target.
Project description:This study investigated the influence of executive working memory (EWM) capacity on impulsive decision-making in a sample of young adults (n=623) that varied in degree of externalizing psychopathology (EXT) by examining: (i) the effects of WM load on delay discounting rates, and, (ii) the association between EWM capacity and delay discounting rates. EXT was measured as a latent variable indicated by lifetime problems with alcohol, marijuana, other drugs, childhood conduct, and adult antisocial behavior. Results showed that (i) the WM load increased discounting rates throughout the spectrum of EXT, (ii) EXT was associated with higher discounting rates and lower EMW capacity, and (iii) WM capacity was significantly associated with higher discounting rates when controlling for IQ, but only after a WM load. The results are discussed in terms of the role of EWM capacity in impulsive decision making in EXT.
Project description:Delayed reward discounting (DRD) is a behavioral economic measure of impulsivity, reflecting how rapidly a reward loses value based on its temporal distance. In humans, more impulsive DRD is associated with susceptibility to a number of psychiatric diseases (e.g., addiction, ADHD), health outcomes (e.g., obesity), and lifetime outcomes (e.g., educational attainment). Although the determinants of DRD are both genetic and environmental, this review focuses on its genetic basis. Both rodent studies using inbred strains and human twin studies indicate that DRD is moderately heritable, a conclusion that was further supported by a recent human genome-wide association study (GWAS) that used single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) to estimate heritability. The GWAS of DRD also identified genetic correlations with psychiatric diagnoses, health outcomes, and measures of cognitive performance. Future research priorities include rodent studies probing putative genetic mechanisms of DRD and human GWASs using larger samples and non-European cohorts. Continuing to characterize genomic influences on DRD has the potential to yield important biological insights with implications for a variety of medically and socially important outcomes.
Project description:AIMS:To synthesize continuous associations between delayed reward discounting (DRD) and both addiction severity and quantity-frequency (QF); to examine moderators of these relationships; and to investigate publication bias. METHODS:Meta-analysis of published studies examining continuous associations between DRD and addictive behaviors. Published, peer-reviewed studies on addictive behaviors (alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, stimulants, opiates and gambling) were identified via PubMed, MEDLINE and PsycInfo. Studies were restricted to DRD measures of monetary gains. Random-effects meta-analysis was conducted using Pearson's r as the effect size. Publication bias was evaluated using fail-safe N, Begg-Mazumdar and Egger's tests, meta-regression of publication year and effect size and imputation of missing studies. RESULTS:The primary meta-analysis revealed a small magnitude effect size that was highly significant (r = 0.14, P < 10-14 ). Significantly larger effect sizes were observed for studies examining severity compared with QF (P = 0.01), but not between the type of addictive behavior (P = 0.30) or DRD assessment (P = 0.90). Indices of publication bias suggested a modest impact of unpublished findings. CONCLUSIONS:Delayed reward discounting is associated robustly with continuous measures of addiction severity and quantity-frequency. This relation is generally robust across type of addictive behavior and delayed reward discounting assessment modality.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Low sensitivity to alcohol in persons with a family history of alcoholism (FH+), compared to those without (FH-), contributes to risk for alcohol use disorder (AUD). However, sensitivity of FH+ cardiovascular response to alcohol is not well understood. This gap is significant because cardiovascular processes contribute to emotional regulation and stress response problems theorized to be central to the development and persistence of AUD. This study compared changes in heart rate (HR) and HR variability (HRV) between FH groups after consuming alcohol and control beverages and examined how these changes were moderated by emotional and alcohol-related contexts. METHODS:Young adults (N = 165) with FH+ (n = 110) or FH- (n = 55) each completed 2 sessions, separated by 1 week. They received one of 3 different beverages (alcohol, placebo, and told-no-alcohol) in each session. Electrocardiogram data were recorded during pre-beverage consumption and post-beverage consumption baselines, and then during 4 picture cue tasks (neutral, positive, negative, and alcohol-related). Generalized estimating equations were used to examine differences in cardiovascular reactivity (changes in HR and HRV power at ~ 0.1 Hz) across FH groups, beverage conditions, and picture cue tasks. RESULTS:A significant beverage condition × cue task × FH interaction effect on HRV was observed. The FH+ group, compared to the FH- group, showed (a) significantly less HRV suppression in specific cue contexts following alcohol, (b) a mixed pattern of more and less HRV suppression across cue contexts following placebo, and (c) a similar HRV reactivity pattern in the told-no-alcohol condition across cue tasks. For HR, there were no significant effects involving FH. CONCLUSIONS:Diminished cardiovascular sensitivity to oral alcohol in FH+ persons varied within a given drinking episode depending on emotional and alcohol-related features of the context, suggesting that environmental characteristics play a role in the expression of low sensitivity to alcohol among FH+ individuals.
Project description:Delayed reward discounting (DRD), the degree to which future rewards are discounted relative to immediate rewards, is used as an index of impulsive decision-making and has been associated with a number of problematic health behaviors. Given the robust behavioral association between DRD and addictive behavior, there is an expanding literature investigating the differences in the functional and structural correlates of DRD in the brain between addicted and healthy individuals. However, there has yet to be a systematic review which characterizes differences in regional brain activation, functional connectivity, and structure and places them in the larger context of the DRD literature. The objective of this systematic review is to summarize and critically appraise the existing literature examining differences between addicted and healthy individuals in the neural correlates of DRD using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).A systematic search strategy will be implemented that uses Boolean search terms in PubMed/MEDLINE and PsycINFO, as well as manual search methods, to identify the studies comprehensively. This review will include studies using MRI or fMRI in humans to directly compare brain activation, functional connectivity, or structure in relation to DRD between addicted and healthy individuals or continuously assess addiction severity in the context of DRD. Two independent reviewers will determine studies that meet the inclusion criteria for this review, extract data from included studies, and assess the quality of included studies using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation framework. Then, narrative review will be used to explicate the differences in structural and functional correlates of DRD implicated by the literature and assess the strength of evidence for this conclusion.This review will provide a needed critical exegesis of the MRI studies that have been conducted investigating brain differences in addictive behavior in relation to healthy samples in the context of DRD. This will provide clarity on the elements of neural activation, connectivity, and structure that are most implicated in the differences in DRD seen in addicted individuals.PROSPERO CRD42017056857.
Project description:Episodic Future Thinking has proven efficient in reducing impulsive behavior in several adult populations. Whether it also has a beneficial impact on decision making in adolescents is not known. Here the impact of episodic future thinking on discounting behavior was investigated in a sample of healthy adolescents (n = 44, age range 13-16 years). Discounting behavior in trials including episodic future thinking was significantly less impulsive than in control trials (t = 2.74, p = .009, dz = .44). In a subsample we controlled for executive function, alcohol use and developmental measures. Neither executive function nor alcohol use but developmental measures explained variability in the effect of episodic future thinking. These findings reveal that episodic future thinking can improve adolescent decision making while the effect is to some degree modulated by developmental measures.