Examining the Relationship between Trait Self-control and Stress: Evidence on Generalizability and Outcome Variability

Kristian S. Nielsen, Jan Michael Bauer, Wilhelm Hofmann

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Trait self-control has in several studies been found negatively linked to stress. These studies have, however, mostly relied on student and/or one-country samples. Study 1 investigated the generalizability of the relationship between trait self-control and stress through a four-country survey (N = 4097). The results showed consistently strong and negative relationships between trait self-control and stress across the four countries. Study 2 investigated the relationship between trait self-control and daily stress through a two-week diary study (N = 594; nobs = 7880), showing that trait self-control was negatively related to daily stress and stress variability. Together, the two studies show that trait self-control’s negative link to stress generalizes beyond students and the United States.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103901
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Trait self-control
  • Stress
  • Mental health
  • Cross-country survey
  • Diary study

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