The future and me: Imagining the future and the future self in adolescent decision making

Robyn McCue, Teresa McCormack, James McElnay, Alix Alto, Aidan Feeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
308 Downloads (Pure)


Feeling connected to one’s future self and imagining one’s personal future (Episodic Future Thinking, EFT), are known to attenuate short-sighted decision making in adults. Less is known about how these constructs overlap, or how they relate to impulsivity in adolescents. This study investigated how future self-connectedness, EFT and a number of other future-oriented constructs relate to one another and to the tendency to discount the future. 175 adolescents (11 – 18 years) completed measures of EFT, future self-connectedness, time attitudes, temporal focus, depressive symptomatology and temporal discounting. EFT and future self-connectedness were significantly correlated, indicating adolescents who felt connected to their future selves imagined the future with greater episodic richness. EFT and future self-connectedness independently predicted discounting. Weak associations between the future-oriented constructs, and their differential relations with discounting, indicate these measures assess distinct, but loosely related temporal constructs. Results suggest that combined interventions may improve future-oriented decision making in adolescents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-156
JournalCognitive Development
Early online date09 May 2019
Publication statusEarly online date - 09 May 2019


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