Peer influence, Frontostriatal connectivity, and delay discounting in African American emerging adults

Christopher Holmes, Max Owens, Steven R.H. Beach, Michael McCormick, Emily Hallowell, Uraina S. Clark, Allen W. Barton, Gene H. Brody, James MacKillop, Lawrence H. Sweet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prior research has demonstrated the importance of delay discounting in adverse health behaviors, such as addiction, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, risk taking, and obesity. Nevertheless, the functional connectivity of neural circuitry associated with delay discounting and the ways in which the social environment may influence frontostriatal connectivity remain largely unknown, particularly in African Americans. Building on recent literature implicating frontostriatal connectivity during active delay discounting decision making and at rest, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to assess the association between delay discounting and frontostriatal resting state connectivity (rsFC). We also examined the capacity of social relationships with parents and peers to longitudinally predict frontostriatal rsFC. The study cohort was composed of 91 rural African American emerging adults followed over a 6-year period. Greater (i.e., more positive) frontostriatal rsFC was associated with decreased delay discounting (i.e., less impulsive decision making). In addition, peer relationships at ages 20 and 21 significantly predicted frontostriatal rsFC at age 25 above and beyond parental influence. A significant indirect effect of peer affiliation on delay discounting through frontostriatal rsFC also emerged. These results indicate a role of frontostriatal connectivity in delay discounting decision making and highlight peers’ unique influence on decision making behaviors through frontostriatal rsFC during emerging adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-163
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Imaging and Behavior
Issue number1
Early online dateOct 30 2018
StatePublished - Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Delay discounting
  • Emerging adulthood
  • Frontostriatal connectivity
  • Parent influence
  • Peer influence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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