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  • Dr. Andrea Grünenfelder

Self-control: Selbstkompetenz mit Langfristwirkung

In unserer neusten Publikation haben Forscherkolleg:innen und ich festgestellt, dass sich die Entwicklung von Selbstkontrolle in der späten Kindheit und frühen Adoleszenz langfristig auf Sozial- und Selbstkompetenzen im Erwachsenenalter auswirken, und zwar unabhängig von Geschlecht, sozioökonomischen Status und Verhaltensproblemen im Jugendalter. Hier finden Sie die Originalpublikation zum Nachlesen:

Allemand, Grünenfelder-Steiger, Fend & Hill_2022
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Im folgenden eine kurze (englische) Zusammenfassung der wichtigsten Erkenntnisse:


The current study provided multiple insights into the role that adolescent personality plays in shaping willingness to forgive in adulthood. First, results indicated that levels of self-control

during adolescence were significantly associated with forgivingness over three decades later.


First, self-control as assessed here captured aspects of goal persistence and

willpower. Individuals with this capacity are likely to show greater commitment and success in goal achievement across multiple domains of life, including social and emotional goals. Past work suggests that forgivingness may provide a tool for those individuals whose goals are focused on environmental mastery (Hill & Allemand, 2010), and it may be valuable for those wishing to succeed in social settings (Lawler-Row & Piferi, 2006).

Second, adolescent self control may build to adult forgivingness through promoting social interactions. As noted earlier, multiple personality development theories point to feedback loops as a route to either deepening or reducing a dispositional tendency (Hill & Jackson, 2016; Roberts et al., 2008). Individuals higher on self-control tend to fare better in close relationships (see Fitzsimons & Finkel, 2011 for a review), in part because these individuals may engage more with relationship maintenance behaviors (Finkel & Campbell, 2001). Following those findings, during adolescence and young adulthood, high self-controlled individuals should experience more positive social interactions, and be included in more social settings, which in turn creates greater exposure to the benefits of forgivingness for maintaining those social networks.

Third, personality development theories have spoken to the potential for self-reflection and reputation to play a role in shaping dispositional changes (Geukes et al., 2018; Roberts et al., 2008; Wrzus & Roberts, 2017). Namely, individuals may be motivated to act in ways that both affirm their personal views of themselves, and maintain a positive reputation among their peers. Given that adolescence is a critical period for self and identity formation

(Erikson, 1959; Marcia, 1980), as well as one wherein peer perceptions may be important, it would seem plausible that youth who indicated that they were self-controlled would wish to continue acting aligned with that self-perception. Moreover, a reputational cost may be incurred if individuals fail to uphold that disposition. Revenge-seeking and vengefulness in the face of perceived transgressions may be seen as antagonistic to one's self-perception

and reputation as a self-controlled individual, and thus they may be motivated to be more forgiving in order to align with those perceptions.


In conclusion, self-control appears a potentially viable route for setting youth on the track for becoming more forgiving adults. Given that both predictive effects were evidenced for self-control level and change, these findings set the stage for considering how early interventions targeting self-control may have lasting effects. In future efforts toward developing self-control interventions targeting child and adolescent samples (Allemand et al., 2020; Allemand & Fluckiger, 2022), it would be valuable to consider forgivingness as an outcome of such programs. In this respect, forgivingness becomes yet another potential benefit experienced by self-controlled youth later in the lifespan, along with multiple health, wealth, and relationship benefits (Moffitt et al., 2011; Richmond-Rakerd et al., 2021).

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