What limits self-control? A motivated effort-allocation account

Daniel C. Molden, Chin Ming Hui, Abigail A. Scholer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


This chapter describes the evidence that motivation rather than capacity plays a prominent role in the exercise of self-control. It explores the model of these motivational processes as a system of effort evaluation and allocation and discusses how this framework provides a comprehensive account of people’s experiences of and engagement in self-control. Although this metaphorical strength model of self-control often aptly describes the observed limits of control, research has focused on going beyond such metaphors and better articulating the psychological mechanisms responsible for the experienced difficulty of prolonged control. Baumeister et al.‘s strength model of self-regulation postulates a general, but limited, capacity of mental resources that depletes with use. This would readily explain people’s observed struggle to sustain self-regulation. On the whole, the motivated effort-allocation model of self-regulation integrates the newly emerging research on the various motivational influences that determine whether people engage in self-regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge International Handbook of Self-Control in Health and Well-Being
Subtitle of host publicationConcepts, Theories, and Central Issues
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781317301424
ISBN (Print)9781315648576
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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