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  1. Gina L. Mazza
  2. David P. MacKinnon
  3. Lisa A. Marsch

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Description: The ability to regulate behavior in service of long-term goals is a widely studied psychological construct known as self-regulation. This wide interest is in part due to the putative relations between self-regulation and a range of real-world behaviors. Self-regulation is generally viewed as a trait, and individual differences are quantified using a diverse set of measures including self-report surveys and behavioral tasks. Accurate characterization of individual differences requires measurement reliability, a property frequently characterized in self-report surveys, but rarely assessed in behavioral tasks. We remedy this gap by (1) providing a comprehensive literature review on an extensive set of self-regulation measures, and (2) empirically evaluating retest reliability in this battery of measures in a new sample. We find that self-report survey measures of self-regulation have high test-retest reliability while measures derived from behavioral tasks do not. This holds both in the literature and in our sample. We confirm that this is due to differences in between-subjects variability. We also compare different types of task measures (e.g., model parameters vs. raw response times) in their suitability as individual difference measures, finding that certain model parameters are as stable as raw measures. Our results provide greater psychometric footing for the study of self-regulation and provide guidance for future studies of individual differences in this domain.


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