Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
This study explored how early adverse experiences (i.e., low socioeconomic status, household chaos, attachment insecurity) and implicit beliefs about self-control (i.e., whether self-control is a limited or nonlimited resource) were associated with trait and momentary self-control in a sample of college students. As the first study to explore these factors together, individuals’ implicit beliefs were tested as a moderator and meditator of the association between early risk and self-control. Participants (N = 214) first completed a baseline survey with the main predictors and trait self-control, followed by one week of experience sampling to assess momentary self-control, or success resisting desires. SPSS was used to conduct analyses with data collected at baseline, and HLM version 8 and Mplus version 8 were used for analyses with data collected via experience sampling. Higher levels of early risks predicted lower levels of trait self-control and less successful resistance against desires. Individuals who believed self-control was nonlimited reported higher trait self-control and marginally better success at resisting desires. Individuals’ beliefs did not moderate the association between early risks and trait or momentary self-control. There was an indirect effect of early risk on trait self-control through individuals’ implicit beliefs. However, this pattern was not found for momentary self-control. Together, these results indicated that implicit beliefs may partially explain the link between accumulated early risks and self-control, but that other contextual factors may play a large role for momentary self-control. This study offers a possible explanation for how early risk is associated with self-control, and a promising target for future interventions for individuals who have low self-control.
DeLong, Katy L., "Predictors of Self-Control During Emerging Adulthood: The Roles of Implicit Beliefs and Early Risk" (2020). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 7572.