Self-regulation and school success

Angela Lee Duckworth, Stephanie M. Carlson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

68 Scopus citations


Some children fare better academically than others, even when family background and school and teacher quality are controlled for (Rivkin, Hanushek, & Kain, 2005). Variance in performance that persists when situational variables are held constant suggests that individual differences play an important role in determining whether children thrive or fail in school. In this chapter, we review research on individual differences in self-regulation and their relation to school success. Historically, research on individual differences that bear on school success has focused on general intelligence. A century of empirical evidence has now unequivocally established that intelligence, defined as the “ability to understand complex ideas, to adapt effectively to the environment, to learn from experience, to engage in various forms of reasoning, to overcome obstacles by taking thought” (Neisser et al., 1996, p. 77) has a monotonic, positive relationship with school success (Gottfredson, 2004; Kuncel, Ones, & Sackett, 2010; Lubinski, 2009). In contrast, the relation between school success and temperamental differences among children has only recently attracted serious attention from researchers. Temperament is typically defined as “constitutionally based individual differences in reactivity and self-regulation, in the domains of affect, activity, and attention” (Rothbart & Bates, 2006, p. 100). While assumed to have a substantial genetic basis, temperament is also influenced by experience and demonstrates both stability and change over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSelf-Regulation and Autonomy
Subtitle of host publicationSocial and Developmental Dimensions of Human Conduct
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781139152198
ISBN (Print)9781107023697
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2013.


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