Trait self-control and self-discipline: Structure, validity, and invariance across national groups

Martin S. HAGGER, Chun-Qing ZHANG, Eva-Maria KANGRO, Francis RIES, John C. K. WANG, Brody HERITAGE, King Chung Derwin CHAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of the present study was to test the validity of the Brief Self-Control Scale (BSCS; Tangney, Baumeister and Boone 2004) including its dimensional structure based on competing one- and two-factor models, discriminant validity from the conceptually-related self-discipline construct, invariance across multiple samples from different national groups, and predictive validity with respect to health-related behaviors. Samples of undergraduate students (total N = 1282) from four national groups completed the brief self-control scale, the self-discipline scale from the NEO-PI-R, and self-report measures of binge drinking, exercise, and healthy eating. Confirmatory factor analytic models supported a two-factor structure of self-control encompassing restraint and non-impulsivity components. The model exhibited good fit in all samples and invariance of factor loadings in multi-sample analysis. The restraint and non-impulsivity components exhibited discriminant validity and were also distinct from self-discipline. Structural equation models revealed that non-impulsivity predicted binge drinking in three of the samples, and restraint predicted exercise in two samples, with no role for self-discipline. Results point to a multi-dimensional structure for trait self-control consistent with previous theory separating impulsive- and control-related components. Copyright © 2018 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Psychology
Early online dateOct 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Oct 2018



Hagger, M. S., Zhang, C.-Q., Kangro, E.-M., Ries, F., Wang, J. C. K., Heritage, B., & Chan, D. K. C. (2018). Trait self-control and self-discipline: Structure, validity, and invariance across national groups. Current Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s12144-018-0021-6


  • Self-control
  • Self-discipline
  • Self-regulation
  • Restraint
  • Impulsivity