The mediating role of monitoring in the association of religion with self-control

Evan C. Carter, Michael E. McCullough, Charles S. Carver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Religiosity is related to a variety of positive outcomes and the nature of this relationship has long been a topic of inquiry. Recently, it was proposed that an important piece of this puzzle may be the propensity for religious beliefs to promote self-control, a trait that is linked to a range of benefits. How religion translates into self-control, however, remains unclear. We examined the extent to which religiosity's relationship with self-control is mediated by self-monitoring, perceived monitoring by God, and perceived monitoring by other people. Results revealed that more religious people tended to monitor their standing regarding their goals (self-monitoring) to a greater degree, which in turn related to more self-control. Also, religious people tended to believe that a higher power was watching them, which related to greater self-monitoring, which in turn was related to more self-control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-697
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: John Templeton Foundation, grant #14845.


  • religion
  • self-control
  • self-focus
  • self-monitoring
  • self-regulation


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