Development and Validation of the Delaying Gratification Inventory

Michael Hoerger, Stuart W. Quirk, Nathan C. Weed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Deficits in gratification delay are associated with a broad range of public health problems, such as obesity, risky sexual behavior, and substance abuse. However, 6 decades of research on the construct has progressed less quickly than might be hoped, largely because of measurement issues. Although past research has implicated 5 domains of delay behavior, involving food, physical pleasures, social interactions, money, and achievement, no published measure to date has tapped all 5 components of the content domain. Existing measures have been criticized for limitations related to efficiency, reliability, and construct validity. Using an innovative Internet-mediated approach to survey construction, we developed the 35-item 5-factor Delaying Gratification Inventory (DGI). Evidence from 4 studies and a large, diverse sample of respondents (N = 10,741) provided support for the psychometric properties of the measure. Specifically, scores on the DGI demonstrated strong internal consistency and test-retest reliability for the 35-item composite, each of the 5 domains, and a 10-item short form. The 5-factor structure fit the data well and had good measurement invariance across subgroups. Construct validity was supported by correlations with scores on closely related self-control measures, behavioral ratings, Big Five personality trait measures, and measures of adjustment and psychopathology, including those on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2-Restructured Form. DGI scores also showed incremental validity in accounting for well-being and health-related variables. The present investigation holds implications for improving public health, accelerating future research on gratification delay, and facilitating survey construction research more generally by demonstrating the suitability of an Internet-mediated strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)725-738
Number of pages14
JournalPsychological Assessment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Delay discounting
  • Impulsivity
  • Internet research
  • Self-control
  • Test construction


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