Publication Type

Journal Article

Version

Postprint

Publication Date

2-2016

Abstract

To what extent do people view self-control as central to achieving a healthy, high-quality life? While scientific evidence strongly supports the notion that self-control is associated with successful adaptation and optimal functioning, we examine whether individuals connect this trait with positive outcomes. In Study 1, participants rated the likelihood that an individual with high self-control (or self-esteem) would experience good health and a high-quality life. Studies 2-3 experimentally portrayed a target person as high or low in self-control (and self-esteem) before participants rated the target on an array of positive outcomes. Across studies, self-control was perceived as less strongly connected with a high-quality life than self-esteem. Mediation analyses suggest that people link self-esteem (but not self-control) with healthy behaviors that, in turn, lead to superior perceived physical and psychological health. While self-esteem is strongly associated with lay concepts of the good life, the importance of self-control may be comparatively under-recognized.

Keywords

good life, flourishing, self-control, self-esteem, life quality, lay theories

Discipline

Applied Behavior Analysis | Social Psychology

Research Areas

Psychology

Publication

Journal of Positive Psychology

Volume

11

Issue

6

First Page

572

Last Page

583

ISSN

1743-9760

Identifier

10.1080/17439760.2016.1152503

Publisher

Taylor & Francis (Routledge): STM, Behavioural Science and Public Health Titles

Embargo Period

2-28-2017

Copyright Owner and License

Authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2016.1152503

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