Early life adversity and increased delay discounting: Findings from the Family Health Patterns project.

Increased discounting (devaluing) of delayed rewards is associated with nearly all types of substance use disorders (SUDs) and is also present in individuals with family histories of SUDs. Early life adversity (ELA) likely contributes to these findings as it is common in both individuals with SUDs and their children and is linked to increased delay discounting and other neurocognitive impairments in human and animal studies. Here we examined data from 1192 healthy young adults (average age 23.6 years old) with (SUDs+) and without (SUDs—) histories of SUDs and with (FH+) and without (FH—) family histories of SUDs. A 2-way ANOVA was conducted to examine the effects of SUDs (SUDs—, SUDs+) and FH (FH—, FH+) on delay discounting followed by an examination of the effects of adding ELA to the model. First, we replicated findings that SUDs+ and FH+ participants had increased rates of delay discounting. After taking ELA into account, the effect of SUDs and FH on delay discounting were both reduced but still significant. The association of ELA and delay discounting was similar in magnitude among both SUDs+ and SUDs− participants and FH+ and FH— participants; those with higher levels of ELA had increased delay discounting. Collectively, these findings indicate that increased ELA is closely associated with the increased delay discounting seen in SUDs+ and FH+ individuals and suggests ELA may be contributing to the increased delay discounting seen in these populations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)