Murray, J, Scott, H, Connolly, C and Wells, A (2018) The Attention Training Technique improves Children's ability to delay gratification: A controlled comparison with progressive relaxation. Behaviour Research and Therapy. ISSN 0005-7967

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The ability to delay gratification at a young age is a predictor of psychological, cognitive, health, and academic later-life outcomes. This study aimed to extend earlier research and explore whether a metacognitive intervention, Wells' (1990) Attention Training Technique (ATT), could improve young children's ability to delay gratification compared to an active-control (Progressive Muscle Relaxation: PMR), and no-intervention group. One hundred and one children aged 5–6 years old were recruited from schools. Classes of children were randomly allocated to receive the ATT, PMR or no-intervention and tested at pre- and post-intervention on measures of delay of gratification (the Marshmallow Test) and verbal inhibition (Day/Night Task). Results showed that, even when covariates were controlled for, following ATT, children delayed gratification significantly longer than after PMR or no-intervention. ATT also improved verbal inhibition compared with the no-intervention group, whilst PMR did not. The results add to earlier findings; ATT appears to provide a simple and effective way of improving young children's ability to delay gratification which has previously been shown to predict positive outcomes in later-life.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Children; Attention Training Technique; Executive function; Delay of gratification; Metacognition
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Primary Care Health Sciences
Depositing User: Hannah Reidy
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 15:11
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2020 01:30

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