The Cards and Lottery Task: Validation of a New Paradigm Assessing Decision Making Under Risk in Individuals With Severe Obesity.

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The Cards and Lottery Task: Validation of a New Paradigm Assessing Decision Making Under Risk in Individuals With Severe Obesity.

Front Psychiatry. 2020;11:690

Authors: Schäfer L, Schmidt R, Müller SM, Dietrich A, Hilbert A

Background: A growing body of research demonstrated impaired executive functions in individuals with severe obesity, including increased sensitivity to reward and impulsive decision making under risk conditions. For the assessment of decision making in patients with severe obesity, studies widely used the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) or the Delay Discounting Task (DDT), which cover short-term or long-term consequences of decisions only. A further development originating from the field of addiction research is the Cards and Lottery Task (CLT), in which each decision made has conflicting immediate and long-term consequences at the same time. The present study aimed to validate the CLT in individuals with severe obesity.
Methods: Patients with severe obesity (N = 78, 67% women, 42.9 ± 10.4 years old, body mass index of 48.1 ± 8.3 kg/m2) were included. Convergent validity was evaluated using the computerized Delay Discounting Task and well-established self-report questionnaires assessing different aspects of impulsivity. For discriminant validity, CLT performance was compared between symptom groups characterized by high versus low impulsivity. The task’s clinical validity was evaluated based on associations with general and eating disorder psychopathology, and body mass index. Test-retest reliability was determined by administering the CLT in n = 31 participants without weight-loss treatment one year later. The task’s sensitivity to change due to weight loss was evaluated by retesting n = 32 patients one year after receiving obesity surgery.
Results: The number of advantageous decisions in the CLT was significantly positively associated with delay discounting and effortful control, and significantly negatively correlated with behavioral impulsivity. CLT performance differed significantly between individuals with and without symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and between samples with severe obesity and healthy controls. Clinically, CLT performance was significantly associated with general, but not eating disorder psychopathology. The CLT showed moderate test-retest reliability after one year in weight-stable individuals and was sensitive to change in those undergoing obesity surgery.
Conclusions: This study identified the CLT to be a highly promising, new complex measure of short- and long-term decision making with good reliability and validity in individuals with severe obesity. Future studies should assess its association with the IGT and predictive value for real-life health behavior.

PMID: 32765324 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]