Reinforcer pathology, probabilistic choice, and medication adherence in patients with multiple sclerosis.
The reinforcer pathology model posits that core behavioral economic mechanisms, including delay discounting and behavioral economic demand, underlie adverse health decisions and related clinical disorders. Extensions beyond substance use disorder and obesity, however, are limited. Using a reinforcer pathology framework, this study evaluates medical adherence decisions in patients with multiple sclerosis. Participants completed behavioral economic measures, including delay discounting, probability discounting, and a medication purchase task. A medical decision-making task was also used to evaluate how sensitivity to mild side effect risk and efficacy contributed to the likelihood of taking a hypothetical disease-modifying therapy. Less steep delay discounting and more intense (greater) medication demand were independently associated with greater adherence to the medication decision-making procedure. More generally, the pattern of interrelations between the medication-specific and general behavioral economic metrics was consistent with and contributes to the reinforcer pathology model. Additional research is warranted to expand these models to different populations and health behaviors, including those of a positive health orientation (i.e., medication adherence).
Journal of the experimental analysis of behavior
Humans; Delay Discounting; Multiple Sclerosis; Medication Adherence; Substance-Related Disorders; Obesity
delay discounting; demand; multiple sclerosis; probability discounting; reinforcer pathology
Jarmolowicz DP, Schneider TD, Strickland JC, Bruce AS, Reed DD, Bruce JM. Reinforcer pathology, probabilistic choice, and medication adherence in patients with multiple sclerosis. J Exp Anal Behav. 2023;119(2):275-285. doi:10.1002/jeab.830