Delay of gratification: A comparison study of children with Down syndrome, moderate intellectual disability and typical development

Cuskelly, Monica, Gilmore, Linda, Glenn, Sheila, & Jobling, Anne (2016) Delay of gratification: A comparison study of children with Down syndrome, moderate intellectual disability and typical development. Journal Of Intellectual Disability Research, 60(9), pp. 865-873.

[img] Accepted Version (PDF 142kB)
Administrators only until September 2018 | Request a copy from author

View at publisher



  • Self-regulation has been found to be an important contributor to a range of outcomes, with delay of gratification (a self-regulatory skill) predicting better academic, social and personal functioning. There is some evidence that individuals with Down syndrome have difficulty with delay of gratification. We investigated the question of whether this difficulty is common to intellectual disability irrespective of aetiology, or whether it presents a particular problem for those with Down syndrome. The latter was considered a possibility because of language difficulties in this group.


  • Three groups of children with a mean MA between 36 and 60 months participated in the study: children with Down syndrome (n = 32), children with a moderate intellectual disability from a cause other than Down syndrome (n = 26) and typically developing children (n = 50). Children completed a series of measures of language and cognitive functioning and participated in a delay of gratification task.


  • The group of children with Down syndrome delayed for a significantly shorter time than either of the other two groups that did not differ from each other. Receptive language was associated with delay time for the children with Down syndrome but not for the typically developing group, nor for the group with moderate intellectual disability.


  • Children with Down syndrome appear to have a particular difficulty with delay of gratification. Language abilities would seem to be implicated in this difficulty, although further examination of this hypothesis is required.

Impact and interest:

0 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 95974
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Down syndrome, intellectual disability, delay of gratification, self-regulation
DOI: 10.1111/jir.12262
ISSN: 1365-2788
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Special Education and Disability (130312)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: 2016 MENCAP and International Association of the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Copyright Statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Cuskelly, M., Gilmore, L., Glenn, S., and Jobling, A. (2016) Delay of gratification: a comparison study of children with Down syndrome, moderate intellectual disability and typical development. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 60: 865–873, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Deposited On: 08 Aug 2016 01:16
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2017 06:27

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page