Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Psychology


Social/Personality Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, 50 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Mark Muraven

Committee Members

Ronald S. Friedman


affect, fluctuations, gender, intensity, Self-control, Emotions

Subject Categories



One function of self-control is to inhibit inappropriate expressions of emotions to facilitate interpersonal interactions; however, self-control may predispose one to over generalize limitations of one's emotional response rather than solely in contexts in which emotional regulation is needed. The current study examined the effects of trait self-control on emotional fluctuations and emotional intensity to determine whether high self-control may be associated with diminished emotional experience. Undergraduate students (N = 298) participated in three experiments designed to evaluate the impact of self-control on emotional experience, as measured by self-report questionnaire and responses to emotionally evocative video clips using a continuous rating affect dial. Results confirmed that individuals high in self-control showed fewer trait fluctuations and less trait emotional intensity. Some evidence also indicated that state emotions are affected by self-control, however this effect may be influenced by gender differences. Whereas men high in self-control exhibited fewer state fluctuations and less state emotional intensity than women for some emotions, this effect did not reach significance for women. In fact, women showed significantly more fluctuations in guilt than men. This suggests that the experience of emotions may be limited for those high in self-control, particularly men. Limitations of these results and implications of interactions between gender and self-control are discussed. It is possible that having high levels of trait self-control, in some cases may come with the cost of an emotional life less rich in experience.

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