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Relative to the vast literature that employs measures of decision-making (DM), rigorous examination of their psychometric properties is sparse. This study aimed to determine whether three measures of DM assess the same construct, and to measure invariance of this construct across relevant covariates.


Participants were 372 adolescents at risk of escalation in cannabis use. DM was assessed via four indices from the Cups Task, Game of Dice Task (GDT), and Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). We used confirmatory factor analysis to assess unidimensionality of the DM construct, and moderated nonlinear factor analysis (MNLFA) to examine its measurement invariance.


The unidimensional model of DM demonstrated good fit. MNLFA results revealed that sex influenced mean DM scores, such that boys had lower risk-taking behaviors. There was evidence of differential item functioning (DIF), such that IQ and age moderated the IGT intercept and GDT factor loading, respectively. Significant effects were retained in the final model, which produced participant-specific DM factor scores. These scores showed moderate stability over time.


Indices from three DM tasks loaded significantly onto a single factor, suggesting that these DM tasks assess a single underlying construct. We suggest that this construct represents the ability to make optimal choices that maximize rewards in the presence of risk. Our final DM factor accounts for DIF caused by covariates, making it comparable across adolescents with different characteristics. (JINS, 2019, 25, 661-667).


Originally published in Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.

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