The relationship between self-control and temperament: a contribution to the self-control definition debate
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Institute of Psychology, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland
Submission date: 2018-03-20
Final revision date: 2019-01-16
Acceptance date: 2019-01-23
Online publication date: 2019-02-18
Publication date: 2019-03-01
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2019;7(1):24-31
Self-control, as one of the most popular research topics, requires strong definition boundaries to enable generalization of the results. There are inconsistencies between researchers in the understanding of the concept, due to the fact that self-control is a complex phenomenon that involves many psychological functions and has a strong impact on human everyday performance. This research contributes to a wider scientific debate on self-control’s theoretical framework by examining its relationship with Jan Strelau’s theory of temperament.

Participants and procedure:
One hundred sixty-four adults (95 women) were asked to fill in two paper-and-pencil questionnaires: NAS-50, measuring self-control and its five factors (goal maintenance, proactive control, initiative and persistence, inhibition and adjournment, switching and flexibility), and FCB-TI, measuring six dimensions of temperament (briskness, perseverance, sensory sensitivity, emotional reactivity, endurance, and activity).

Three FCB-TI subscales – briskness, sensory sensitivity, and low level of emotional reactivity –were found to explain 35% of NAS-50 overall score variance. Activity showed a correlation only with the switching and flexibility subscale of NAS-50. Pro-active control showed no correlation with FCB-TI scales at all.

Self-control and temperament are linked, although the shared variance is too small to justify unification of these two constructs. Successful self-control is supported by briskness, sensory sensitivity, and low level of emotional reactivity.

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