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Self-control and Health Outcomes in a Nationally Representative Sample

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Objectives : To explore the link between low self-control during adolescence and health problems in early adulthood.

Methods : Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we examined the relationship between varying levels of self-control and the likelihood of being diagnosed with a variety of physical and brainbased health conditions.

Results : Results from logistic regression analyses indicated that subjects with lower levels of self-control had significantly higher odds of being diagnosed with 9 of the 10 health outcomes.

Conclusions : Targeting the development of selfcontrol in childhood and adolescence may be valuable in preventing future health problems.

Keywords: brain-based disorders; health problems; self-control

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1 Assistant Professor, Department of Criminal Justice, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX.

Publication date: January 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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