Religion, Self-Regulation, and Self-Control: Associations, Explanations, and Implications

Michael E. McCullough, Brian L.B. Willoughby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

503 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many of the links of religiousness with health, well-being, and social behavior may be due to religion's influences on self-control or self-regulation. Using Carver and Scheier's (1998) theory of self-regulation as a framework for organizing the empirical research, the authors review evidence relevant to 6 propositions: (a) that religion can promote self-control; (b) that religion influences how goals are selected, pursued, and organized; (c) that religion facilitates self-monitoring; (d) that religion fosters the development of self-regulatory strength; (e) that religion prescribes and fosters proficiency in a suite of self-regulatory behaviors; and (f) that some of religion's influences on health, well-being, and social behavior may result from religion's influences on self-control and self-regulation. The authors conclude with suggestions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-93
Number of pages25
JournalPsychological Bulletin
Volume135
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

Keywords

  • motivation
  • personality
  • religion
  • self-control
  • self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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