Bidirectional association between self-control and internalizing problems among college freshmen: A cross-lagged study

Qiao-Min SITU, Jianbin LI, Kai DOU, Yu‐Jie WANG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

For the young adult, entering tertiary education brings inevitable pressures and stresses. Faced with these stressors, students are vulnerable to internalizing problems. Both the social cognitive theory of self-regulation and hot/cool system theory suggest that while self-control plays a crucial role in protecting against internalizing problems in college students, such internalizing problems can also impair self-control. To test this idea, the present study used a two-wave longitudinal design, spanning 6 months apart, to investigate the predictive effect of self-control on subsequent internalizing problems and, conversely, the effect of internalizing problems on later self-control among college freshmen. As predicted, the results of cross-lagged model supported a bidirectional association between self-control and internalizing problems. Theoretically, these findings suggest a spiral development of self-control in relation to internalizing problems during emerging adulthood. Practically, intervention programs may target both issues of self-control and internalizing problems to optimize the psychological health of college freshmen. Copyright © 2019 Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood and SAGE Publishing.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEmerging Adulthood
Early online dateJul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jul 2019

Citation

Situ, Q.-M., Li, J.-B., Dou, K., & Wang, Y.-J. (2019). Bidirectional association between self-control and internalizing problems among college freshmen: A cross-lagged study. Emerging Adulthood. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/2167696819862174

Keywords

  • Self-control
  • Internalizing problems
  • Cross-lagged study
  • Adjustment
  • Transition
  • College students

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