Delay of gratification in middle childhood: Extending the utility and sensitivity of the standard task

J. Wilson, G. Andrews, Ho Keung David Shum

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 The Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences and John Wiley & Sons Australia, LtdThe ability to delay gratification is an important aspect of the development of self-regulation and executive functioning. Standard tasks to assess delay of gratification are typically only useful up to age 5 years. A modified task was developed and administered to a sample of 126 (59 males and 67 females) typically developing Australian children aged 5-12 years. Results showed that 7-year-olds were significantly more likely to delay than 5-year-olds. A ceiling effect was observed from age 7 onwards. Performance on the modified task correlated significantly with other executive functioning tasks, demonstrating the convergent validity of the task. This study was successful in extending the usefulness of the standard delay of gratification task to age 7. Suggestions for further development of this task are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-15
Number of pages8
JournalPsyCh Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • delay of gratification
  • executive functioning
  • middle childhood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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