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ERIC Number: EJ1096072
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Apr
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0663
A Stitch in Time: Strategic Self-Control in High School and College Students
Duckworth, Angela L.; White, Rachel E.; Matteucci, Alyssa J.; Shearer, Annie; Gross, James J.
Journal of Educational Psychology, v108 n3 p329-341 Apr 2016
A growing body of research indicates that self-control is critical to academic success. Surprisingly little is known, however, about the diverse strategies students use to implement self-control or how well these strategies work. To address these issues, the author conducted a naturalistic investigation of self-control strategies (Study 1) and 2 field experiments (Studies 2 and 3). In Study 1, high school students described the strategies they use to manage interpersonal conflicts, get academic work done, eat healthfully, and manage other everyday self-control challenges. The majority of strategies in these self-nominated incidents as well as in 3 hypothetical academic scenarios (e.g., studying instead of texting friends) were reliably classified using the process model of self-control. As predicted by the process model, students rated strategies deployed early in the impulse-generation process (situation selection, situation modification) as being dramatically more effective than strategies deployed later (attentional deployment, cognitive change, response modulation). In Study 2, high school students randomly assigned to implement situation modification were more likely to meet their academic goals during the following week than students assigned either to implement response modulation or no strategy at all. In Study 3, college students randomly assigned to implement situation modification were also more successful in meeting their academic goals, and this effect was partially mediated by decreased feelings of temptation throughout the week. Collectively, these findings suggest that students might benefit from learning to initiate self-control when their impulses are still nascent.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institute on Aging (DHHS/NIH)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania
Grant or Contract Numbers: 5K01AG03318202; R24AG04808101