Original Research : Self-Control

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Original Research : Self-Control Exercise, Financial Behaviours, Physical and Financial Health, Self- Control

The last 30 years have witnessed drastic increases in obesity and consumer debt. Research has shown that level of self-control (SC) may underlie this trend. Health and financial environmental opportunities are quite different to those just a few decades ago and may reward a different personality profile (i.e. those with higher SC). The purpose of this study is to extend previous research by examining the relationships between a) SC and exercise behaviours, and, b) SC and financial behaviours. A total of 40,000 alumni from a large Midwest university were invited via email to complete an electronic survey. Completed responses included 1,320 men (61.5%) and (38.5%) women and represented a range of ages (M= 55.28 ± 11.76). SC, exercise behaviour, and financial behaviours were measured using the International Personality Item Pool (IPIP), the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), and Financial Behaviour Questionnaire (FBQ), respectively. The SC variable was a composite score of facets from the IPIP measure (Self-efficacy, Orderliness, Dutifulness, Achievement-Striving, Self-Discipline, Cautiousness) and the Impulsivity Scale. When controlling for income, age, and education, the results of the regression analyses showed that SC positively and significantly predict exercise and financial behaviour.
These results are consistent with growing evidence in health psychology research that SC may be a predictor of the health-wealth connection. Reports in the current study suggest that among individuals with the same resources (i.e. income and education), self-control may help explain why some people prosper while others struggle both physically and financially. The results of this study indicate that strategies to enhance SC may hold promise for the improvement of health and wealth-related behaviours.