Self-control development in adolescence predicts love and work in adulthood

Mathias Allemand*, Veronika Job, Daniel K. Mroczek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


This longitudinal study over a 23-year time span examined predictive associations between self-control development in adolescence and love and work outcomes in adulthood. Participants were 1,527 adults aged 35 years (48.3% female). The predictor variable self-control was measured yearly at the ages of 12 to 16 years. Adult outcome variables were measured at the age of 35 years. Three important results stand out. First, the measure of adolescent self-control functioned equivalently across the adolescent years. Second, adolescents showed a mean-level increase in self-control across the adolescent years and significant individual differences in level and change of self-control. Finally, individual differences in change in adolescent self-control predicted better intimate relationships in terms of higher relationship satisfaction and lower conflict; and more satisfaction and engagement in work-life in adulthood independent of the initial levels of self-control in early adolescence. These findings demonstrate that developmental self-regulatory processes reveal long-term consequences in important life domains beyond the adolescent years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-634
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Adolescent development
  • Adult outcomes
  • Conscientiousness
  • Love and work
  • Self-control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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