Project Title

An Investigation into the Structure of Self-Control

Authors' Affiliations

Parker Dreves, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN Ginette Blackhart, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City

Location

AUDITORIUM ROOM 137B

Start Date

4-12-2019 9:40 AM

End Date

4-12-2019 9:55 AM

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Psychology

Name of Project's Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Ginette Blackhart

Type

Oral Presentation

Classification of First Author

Graduate Student-Doctoral

Project's Category

Psychology

Abstract Text

Self-control has been measured using a variety of methods including self-report measures, cognitive inhibition tasks, delay discounting and delay of gratification tasks, and persistence and willpower tasks. Although these are all theoretically linked to processes involved in self-control, recent evidence has shown that these diverse measurement techniques relate only minimally to one another. Assuming that self-control is a reflective construct, this would indicate that many of these tasks are poor indicators of self-control. The present research challenges the common assumption that self-control is a reflective construct and instead proposes that self-control is a formative construct. Conceptualizing of self-control as a formative construct could reconcile some of the inconsistencies in the literature, in particular the fact that many indicators for self-control do not correlate highly. To examine the possibility of a formative model of self-control, this research examines 13 commonly used measures of self-control and investigates indicator intercorrelations, indicator relationships with the theoretical consequences of self-control, and performs a vanishing tetrad test (Bollen & Ting, 2000). Results show that in general, indicator intercorrelations are low and nonsignificant as well as indictor correlations with theorized construct consequences. The results of the vanishing tetrad test suggest a reflective interpretation of self-control, but concerns with uniformly low covariances between indicators limit the interpretation of this test. It is concluded that currently available measures of self-control contain large sources of error variance and that questions about the ontological nature of the construct will be unanswerable until more precise measures are developed.

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Apr 12th, 9:40 AM Apr 12th, 9:55 AM

An Investigation into the Structure of Self-Control

AUDITORIUM ROOM 137B

Self-control has been measured using a variety of methods including self-report measures, cognitive inhibition tasks, delay discounting and delay of gratification tasks, and persistence and willpower tasks. Although these are all theoretically linked to processes involved in self-control, recent evidence has shown that these diverse measurement techniques relate only minimally to one another. Assuming that self-control is a reflective construct, this would indicate that many of these tasks are poor indicators of self-control. The present research challenges the common assumption that self-control is a reflective construct and instead proposes that self-control is a formative construct. Conceptualizing of self-control as a formative construct could reconcile some of the inconsistencies in the literature, in particular the fact that many indicators for self-control do not correlate highly. To examine the possibility of a formative model of self-control, this research examines 13 commonly used measures of self-control and investigates indicator intercorrelations, indicator relationships with the theoretical consequences of self-control, and performs a vanishing tetrad test (Bollen & Ting, 2000). Results show that in general, indicator intercorrelations are low and nonsignificant as well as indictor correlations with theorized construct consequences. The results of the vanishing tetrad test suggest a reflective interpretation of self-control, but concerns with uniformly low covariances between indicators limit the interpretation of this test. It is concluded that currently available measures of self-control contain large sources of error variance and that questions about the ontological nature of the construct will be unanswerable until more precise measures are developed.