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Consumer Choices of Women in Residential Drug Treatment: An Analysis of Risk and Impulsivity


  • Support for this research was provided by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its New Jersey Health Initiatives program. This study was derived from a project submitted by the second author to Temple University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis. We gratefully acknowledge the collaboration of Susan M. Gordon, Lauren A. Lee, and Fallon O'Connell. Maren Farris is now at Kindle Behavior Consultants, Burlington, MA.

MaryLouise Kerwin, Department of Psychology, Rowan University, 201 Mullica Hill Road, Glassboro, NJ 08028. E-mail:


The relationship between risk taking, impulsivity, temporal discounting, and shopping choices in an onsite token-economy store was investigated with 10 women in a long-term residential drug-treatment center. Participants completed the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART), Eysenck Impulsivity Scale, and a delay discounting task, which were then correlated with the mean amount spent on slow- and fast-moving consumer items for self, child, and household (cash-and-carry store items and catalog items). Of particular importance, purchases of slow- and fast-moving items for the child seemed to mirror one another, suggesting that these women are valuing their children's well-being (in terms of consumer goods) more highly than their own.