Self-affirmation and self-control: affirming core values counteracts ego depletion

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2009 Apr;96(4):770-82. doi: 10.1037/a0014635.


Research has established that acts of self-control deplete a resource required for subsequent self-control tasks. The present investigation revealed that a psychological intervention-self-affirmation-facilitates self-control when the resource has been depleted. Experiments 1 and 2 found beneficial effects of self-affirmation on self-control in a depleted state. Experiments 3 and 4 suggested that self-affirmation improves self-control by promoting higher levels (vs. lower levels) of mental construal. Self-affirmation therefore holds promise as a mental strategy that reduces the likelihood of self-control failure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affect / physiology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Cues
  • Ego*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Male
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Values*
  • Students
  • Task Performance and Analysis