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Self-Control, Context, and Health-Impairing Behaviors: Understanding Addiction Risk

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dc.contributor.advisor Lobel, Marci en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Moyer, Anne en_US
dc.contributor.author Auerbach, Melissa en_US
dc.contributor.other Department of Social/Health Psychology en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2017-09-20T16:51:11Z
dc.date.available 2017-09-20T16:51:11Z
dc.date.issued 2016-12-01 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11401/76790 en_US
dc.description 116 pgs en_US
dc.description.abstract Self-control failure is a potent predictor of unhealthful behaviors such as drinking and smoking and a risk factor for addiction. Although research examining self-control failure among addicted individuals is growing, less is known about non-addicted people who fail at controlling health behavior. Social-cognitive models are often used to examine health behaviors among non-addicted individuals. However, health behavior theories tend to be trait-based and underemphasize the role of context. It is important to take into account the influence of situational factors (e.g., stress, fatigue, and negative mood) when understanding the association of dispositional self-control and health-impairing behaviors. This study seeks to advance current theories of self-control and their association with health-impairing behaviors. Health-impairing behaviors in this study include two behavioral categories: substance use (i.e. drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and smoking marijuana), and uncontrollable eating, which is defined as the inability to successfully reduce food consumption despite the psychological distress and physical discomfort it may produce. The present study used structural equation modeling to test hypotheses about self-control with four main goals: 1) to develop and establish a theoretically driven, empirically-valid latent factor model of dispositional self-control; 2) to examine the predictive validity of this model by examining its association with health-impairing behaviors (i.e. substance use and uncontrollable eating); 3) to explore how contextual variables, namely stress, fatigue, and negative mood, moderate the relationship between latent dispositional self-control and health-impairing behaviors; and 4) to explore whether dispositional self-control is associated with health-promoting behaviors (e.g., exercise and eating well), and whether gender moderates the association between latent self-control and health behavior. Questionnaire data collected from 615 student participants who completed well-validated measures of trait self-control, impulsivity, mindfulness, stress, and uncontrollable eating, and measures created for this study to assess fatigue, health-promoting behavior, and substance use were analyzed. A multi-dimensional latent factor model of dispositional self-control consisting of trait self-control, impulsivity, and mindfulness was confirmed, which demonstrates synthesis of these constructs. The multi-dimensional dispositional self-control factor predicted substance use and uncontrollable eating as hypothesized, suggesting that those with higher self-control are less likely to engage in substance use or uncontrollable eating compared to those with lower control. Moderation analyses indicated that there may be greater health-behavior benefits of self-control in less demanding contexts. Although this evidence was not sufficiently strong, this pattern was observed with fairly high consistency across three moderators and with three different types of health behaviors. One counter-intuitive finding was that self-control was more beneficial for those with higher than lower stress with respect to how frequently they eat uncontrollably. This study is one of the first to examine the interactive effects of variables reflecting the state of individuals with dispositional control. The study also suggests that the resources required to carry out healthful behaviors may be distinct from the resources used to restrain from unhealthful behaviors. Furthermore, by identifying the impact of modifiable contextual factors including stress, mood, and fatigue, the study offers groundwork to advance health behavior theory and interventions. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship This work is sponsored by the Stony Brook University Graduate School in compliance with the requirements for completion of degree. en_US
dc.format Monograph en_US
dc.format.medium Electronic Resource en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher The Graduate School, Stony Brook University: Stony Brook, NY. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Social psychology -- Psychology -- Personality psychology en_US
dc.subject.other Health Behavior, Overeating, Self-Control, Self-Control Failure, Substance Use en_US
dc.title Self-Control, Context, and Health-Impairing Behaviors: Understanding Addiction Risk en_US
dc.type Dissertation en_US
dc.mimetype Application/PDF en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Anderson, Brenda en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Bear, Julia en_US

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