Economic and social deprivation predicts impulsive choice in children

Sci Rep. 2022 May 27;12(1):8942. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-12872-4.


Impulsivity is an individual difference in decision-making that is a risk factor for a number of health concerns including addiction and obesity. Although impulsivity has a large heritable component, the health concerns associated with impulsivity are not uniformly distributed across society. For example, people from poorer backgrounds are more likely to be overweight, and be dependent on tobacco or alcohol. This suggests that the environmental component of impulsivity might be related to economic circumstances and the availability of resources. This paper provides evidence that children aged 4 to 12 from the most deprived areas in England show greater impulsivity in the form of delay discounting than do children from the least deprived areas. The data are discussed with reference to scarcity-based models of decision-making and to public health inequalities.

MeSH terms

  • Behavior, Addictive*
  • Child
  • Ethanol
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior
  • Public Health
  • Social Deprivation*


  • Ethanol