Control Over What? Individual Differences in General Versus Eating and Spending Self-Control
59 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2015 Last revised: 25 Jun 2015
Date Written: June 9, 2015
Public policy research is often directed at welfare-enhancing behavior change using interventions that provide consumers with helpful information and tools. We suggest that the effectiveness of public policy interventions and related outcomes are dependent on individual differences in consumers’ self-control. The present research examines how healthy eating and responsible spending outcomes are influenced by low (vs. high) self-control at general and domain-specific levels. We raise important questions regarding the theoretical basis of self-control individual differences and investigate the relative efficacy of general and domain-specific measures in predicting eating and spending outcomes. We propose a new measurement approach to increase measurement standardization and comparability of results in self-control studies and empirically demonstrate its value. Recommendations are provided to public policy researchers and practitioners concerning the role of general and domain-specific individual differences in self-control and their implications for designing and testing effective interventions to improve consumer health and financial well-being.
Keywords: policy interventions, self-control, individual differences, financial decision making, food decision making
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