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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal European Journal of Personality
Page(s) 0890207021 - 0890207021
Title of proceedings European Journal of Personality
DOI 10.1177/08902070211043023


Research on self-control has increasingly acknowledged the importance of self-regulatory strategies, with strategies in earlier stages of the developing tempting impulse thought to be more effective than strategies in later stages. However, recent research on emotion regulation has moved away from assuming that some strategies are per se and across situations more adaptive than others. Instead, strategy use that is variable to fit situational demands is considered more adaptive. In the present research, we transfer this dynamic process perspective to self-regulatory strategies in the context of persistence conflicts. We investigated eight indicators of strategy use (i.e., strategy intensity, instability, inertia, predictability, differentiation, diversity, and within- and between-strategy variability) in an experience sampling study ( N = 264 participants with 1,923 observations). We found that variability between strategies was significantly associated with self-regulatory success above and beyond mean levels of self-regulatory strategy use. Moreover, the association between trait self-control on one hand and everyday self-regulatory success and affective well-being on the other hand was partially mediated by between-strategy variability. Our results do not only show the benefits of variable strategy use for individual’s self-regulatory success but also the benefits of more strongly connecting the fields of emotion regulation and self-control research.