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The relationship between stress and delay discounting: a meta-analytic review

Fields, Sherecce A.; Lange, Krista; Ramos, Ashley; Thamotharan, Sneha; Rassu, Fenan

Behavioural Pharmacology:
doi: 10.1097/FBP.0000000000000044
Review Articles

The objective of the present meta-analytic review was two-fold: (a) to address the mixed findings of previous research by determining the relationship between stress and impulsivity; and (b) to examine age differences in this relationship. A total of 16 articles fulfilled the inclusion criteria for the present meta-analysis for a total sample size of 2189 participants (k=22) ranging in age from 36 months to 71 years. Using the statistical software, Comprehensive Meta-Analysis, Version 2.0 – Hedges’s g was computed to estimate the effect size. Results showed that impulsivity was related to stress with a moderate–large effect size (g=0.590). Significant moderating effects were found for the type of stress measure (g=0.592) and the type of discounting measure (g=0.696) used. The current study emphasizes the need for further research on the relationship between stress and discounting as additional findings may aid in improving future prevention and intervention programs for health-risk behaviors.

Author Information

Department of Psychology, Health Behavior Research Group, Texas A&M University, Texas, USA

Correspondence to Sherecce Fields, PhD, Department of Psychology, Health Behavior Research Group, Texas A&M University, MS4235, College Station, TX 77843, USA E-mail:

Received March 21, 2014

Accepted May 16, 2014

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins