Self-control, sometimes called self-regulation, refers to the ability to manage emotions and behaviors, inhibiting negative responses and delaying gratification (Bandy & Moore, 2010), in a manner that society considers appropriate for the situation.  Cultural differences can alter what is considered appropriate and therefore should be taken into account when measuring levels of self-control.

The National Research Council (2009) identifies lack of behavioral self-control/self-regulation in middle childhood as a risk factor for substance abuse.

By Urban Institute

Surveys / Assessments


Sources Cited

Bandy, T. & Moore, K. (2010). Assessing self-regulation: A guide for out-of-school time program practitioners. Results-to-Research Brief #2010-23. Child Trends.

National Research Council. Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2009.