Back to overview

Effects of practicing self-control on academic performance

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2015
Author Job Veronika, Friese Malte, Bernecker Katharina,
Project Implicit Theories about Willpower: Mechanisms, Replication, and Application
Show all

Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Motivation Science
Volume (Issue) 1
Page(s) 219 - 232
Title of proceedings Motivation Science
DOI 10.1037/mot0000024


Research suggests that regular practice can improve self-control, usually indicated by self-report measures assessed during or shortly after the practice intervention. The present study looked at objectively measured end of the year grade point average (GPA) as the focal outcome of a self-control training intervention. Participants in the self-control training conditions squeezed a handgrip twice a day for two weeks. To isolate placebo effects, expectations about the effect of the training were manipulated. As compared to a no-treatment control condition, participants in both self-control training conditions earned higher GPA and they reported spending more hours with study-related activities four weeks prior to the exams. The effects were mediated by reduced study-related effort avoidance, but not by increased inhibitory control or resistance to fatigue. The results indicate that practicing self-control may have long-term effects on academic performance and provide first evidence for a motivational mechanism.