Longitudinal improvement of self-regulation through practice: building self-control strength through repeated exercise

J Soc Psychol. 1999 Aug;139(4):446-57. doi: 10.1080/00224549909598404.


This study examined the results of repeated exercises of self-control in relation to self-regulatory strength over time. A sample of 69 U.S. college students spent 2 weeks doing 1 of 3 self-control exercises: monitoring and improving posture, regulating mood, or monitoring and recording eating. Compared with a no-exercise control group, the participants who performed the self-control exercises showed significant improvement in self-regulatory capacity as measured by quitting faster on a hand-grip exercise task following a thought-suppression exercise.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hand Strength / physiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Posture*
  • Random Allocation
  • Self Concept*
  • Thinking*