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Implicit theories about willpower predict subjective well-being


Bernecker, Katharina; Herrmann, Marcel; Brandstätter, Veronika; Job, Veronika (2017). Implicit theories about willpower predict subjective well-being. Journal of Personality, 85(2):136-150.

Abstract

Objective: Lay theories about willpower—the belief that willpower is a limited versus nonlimited resource—affect self-control and goal striving in everyday life (Job, Dweck, & Walton, 2010). Three studies examined whether willpower theories relate to people’s subjective well-being by shaping the progress they make towards their personal goals.
Method: A cross-sectional (Study 1) and two longitudinal studies (Study 2 & 3) measured individuals’ willpower theories and different indicators of subjective well-being. Additionally, Study 3 measured goal striving and personal goal progress.
Results: A limited theory about willpower was associated with lower subjective well-being in a sample of working adults (Study 1, N = 258). Further, a limited theory predicted lower levels of well-being at a time when students faced high self-regulatory demands (Study 2, N = 196). Study 3 (N = 157) replicated the finding that students with a limited theory experienced lower well-being in phases of high demands and found that personal goal progress mediated this relationship.
Conclusions: The belief that willpower is based on a limited resource has negative implications not only for self-control but also for personal goal-striving and subjective well-being.

Abstract

Objective: Lay theories about willpower—the belief that willpower is a limited versus nonlimited resource—affect self-control and goal striving in everyday life (Job, Dweck, & Walton, 2010). Three studies examined whether willpower theories relate to people’s subjective well-being by shaping the progress they make towards their personal goals.
Method: A cross-sectional (Study 1) and two longitudinal studies (Study 2 & 3) measured individuals’ willpower theories and different indicators of subjective well-being. Additionally, Study 3 measured goal striving and personal goal progress.
Results: A limited theory about willpower was associated with lower subjective well-being in a sample of working adults (Study 1, N = 258). Further, a limited theory predicted lower levels of well-being at a time when students faced high self-regulatory demands (Study 2, N = 196). Study 3 (N = 157) replicated the finding that students with a limited theory experienced lower well-being in phases of high demands and found that personal goal progress mediated this relationship.
Conclusions: The belief that willpower is based on a limited resource has negative implications not only for self-control but also for personal goal-striving and subjective well-being.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:implicit theories about willpower, well-being, self-regulation, personal goals DoktoratPsych Erstautor
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:10 Nov 2015 14:04
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 14:39
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0022-3506
Funders:Stiftung Suzanne und Hans Biäsch zur Förderung der Angewandten Psychologie, Swiss National Science Foundation
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12225
Official URL:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jopy.12225/pdf
PubMed ID:26331597

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