The Moderating Role of Different Volitional Competencies on Subsequent Self-control Exertion
1University of Cologne, Germany
2University of Trier, Germany
Scoring high on volitional competency should protect against ego-depletion. This buffering role and the interplay between broader personality traits and state self-control have not been largely examined yet. Thus, we tested the moderating role of different volitional competencies (as assessed by VCC-4 and NEO-FFI) on ego-depletion. We hypothesized that scoring high on impulse control and on conscientiousness protects against ego-depletion. Furthermore, overburdening the self-control muscle should result in more ego-depletion. Participants (n=64) completed an emotion-suppression task and had to suppress all emotions to videos or not. Afterwards they completed the Stroop-task to measure ego-depletion. As hypothesized, we found that scoring high on conscientiousness and impulse control protects against ego-depletion and that scoring low on these variables increases ego-depletion. Overcontrol increased vulnerability towards ego-depletion. These findings show that different volitional competencies have divergent effects and that overburdening the self-control muscle can backfire. These findings have clear practical implications for self-control interventions.