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Time Perspectives and Delay of Gratification – The Role of Psychological Distance Toward the Future and Perceived Possibility of Getting a Future Reward

Authors Kim SJ, Kim HJ, Kim K

Received 17 January 2020

Accepted for publication 17 July 2020

Published 10 August 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 653—663


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman

Sue-Jung Kim,1 Hyo-Jeong Kim,2 Kiho Kim3

1Department of Psychology, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, South Korea; 2Department of Psychology, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea; 3Department of Psychology of Counseling, Sejong Cyber University, Seoul, South Korea

Correspondence: Kiho Kim Department of Psychology of Counseling
Sejong Cyber University, Cheonho-Daero 680, Gwangjin-Gu, Seoul 04992, South Korea
Email [email protected]

Purpose: This study investigated how an individual’s time perspective of the present and the future affects the delay of gratification, using the construal level theory. In addition, the mechanisms that influence the time perspective on the delay of gratification were examined through the mediating roles of the psychological distance and the perceived possibility of getting a future reward.
Participants and Methods: One hundred twenty university students completed the Korean version of the Swedish Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (S-ZTPI) and performed a Temporal Discounting task to aid in the evaluation of their ability to delay gratification. Their psychological distance to the future and perceived possibility of getting a future reward were measured using the visual analogue scale.
Results: The results showed that once the Present-Hedonistic and Future-Negative from among the six-time perspectives increased, and the ability to delayed gratification decreased. On the other hand, once the Future-Positive time perspective increased, the ability to delayed gratification increased. Only the psychological distance for 9 months was associated with time perspective and the mediation effect was not significant. Present-Hedonistic time perspective negatively predicted the perceived possibility of getting a future reward and the delay of gratification. The perceived possibility of getting a future reward fully mediated the relation between the Future-Negative time perspective and the delay of gratification.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that problems involved with the delay of gratification (such as smoking, addiction, and binge eating behavior) are more likely to occur in people who have high Present-Hedonistic and Future-Negative time perspectives, because these time perspectives lead to a lower perceived possibility of getting a future.

Keywords: time perspective, delay of gratification, construal level theory, psychological distance, perceived possibility of getting a future reward

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