Associations between self-control and symptoms of anxiety, depression and insomnia
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- Institutt for psykologi 
Self-control refers to a person’s ability to consciously manage his or her responses in order to achieve a wanted outcome, and can be regarded as a personality trait. Self-control has been shown to be important to a range of outcomes, such as academic and professional success and physical health. Some studies have also found a link between self-control and mental health, showing that high self-control is associated with well-being and adjustment. This study set out to contribute to the limited research on the link between self-control and psychopathology. In addition this study examines the psychometric properties of the measurement tool used for assessing trait self-control, the brief self-control scale, and compares its original one-factor structure to three proposed alternative two-factor models. Self-control, symptoms of anxiety, depression and insomnia were measured in 539 students using a cross-sectional survey method. The brief self-control scale was deemed an acceptable measure as it showed good reliability and a tolerable fit in confirmatory factor analysis. Nevertheless exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis revealed some issues with the scale, as it did not explain more than about a quarter of the variance and had some fit indices falling just short of recommended thresholds for acceptable fit. One of the two-factor models tested showed acceptable fit and good reliability for its two factors, restraint and impulsivity. This model was tested in addition to the original model in the subsequent analyses. Correlation analyses replicated earlier findings indicating a small to moderate correlation between self-control and all the psychopathology outcomes. Regression analyses showed that self-control was a significant predictor of symptoms of depression, anxiety, and insomnia even when controlled for known predictors of psychopathology. This study replicates the relationship between self-control and psychopathology and shows that self-control has a unique contribution in explaining symptoms of anxiety, depression and insomnia, confirming that knowledge about self-control is relevant within clinical psychology. Further research should focus on how self-control is best measured through the use of scales, and how selfcontrol can be strengthened in a treatment setting.