Trait self-control and self-discipline: Structure, validity, and invariance across national groups

Martin S. Hagger*, Chunqing Zhang, Eva Maria Kangro, Francis Ries, John C.K. Wang, Brody Heritage, Derwin K.C. Chan

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    The aim of the present study was to test the validity of the Brief Self-Control Scale (BSCS; Tangney, Baumeister and Boone 2004) including its dimensional structure based on competing one- and two-factor models, discriminant validity from the conceptually-related self-discipline construct, invariance across multiple samples from different national groups, and predictive validity with respect to health-related behaviors. Samples of undergraduate students (total N = 1282) from four national groups completed the brief self-control scale, the self-discipline scale from the NEO-PI-R, and self-report measures of binge drinking, exercise, and healthy eating. Confirmatory factor analytic models supported a two-factor structure of self-control encompassing restraint and non-impulsivity components. The model exhibited good fit in all samples and invariance of factor loadings in multi-sample analysis. The restraint and non-impulsivity components exhibited discriminant validity and were also distinct from self-discipline. Structural equation models revealed that non-impulsivity predicted binge drinking in three of the samples, and restraint predicted exercise in two samples, with no role for self-discipline. Results point to a multi-dimensional structure for trait self-control consistent with previous theory separating impulsive- and control-related components.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1015-1030
    Number of pages16
    JournalCurrent Psychology
    Issue number3
    Early online date15 Oct 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Psychology(all)

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Impulsivity
    • Restraint
    • Self-control
    • Self-discipline
    • Self-regulation


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