The resource model of self‐control posits that self‐control is a finite resource that can be depleted. Individuals with diabetes must continually restrict their diet, requiring self‐control. As a result, dietary adherence is difficult, and lapses are common. People with diabetes who overexert self‐control following a lapse may be especially likely to experience a subsequent relapse, as suggested by the resource model. This investigation used the resource model of self‐control to test whether overexertion of dietary self‐control following a lapse would be predictive of a subsequent relapse in dietary control.
We tested this prediction in a daily diary study of 128 individuals with diabetes (Mage = 66.12).
Participants' reports of their daily dietary adherence were used to define lapses in adherence, post‐lapse adherence, and relapses.
Individuals who overexerted self‐control after a lapse were more likely to experience a subsequent relapse (OR = 3.276, p = .016) and to do so sooner (HR = 2.12, p = .023).
People with diabetes may seek to compensate for a lapse in adherence by overexerting self‐control, but doing so may deplete their self‐control and increase the risk of a future relapse.
Jenkins, B. N., Rook, K. S., Borges-Garcia, R., Franks, M. M., & Stephens, M. A. P. (2016). Too much of a good thing? Overexertion of self-control and dietary adherence in patients with diabetes. British Journal of Health Psychology, 21(3), 648-659. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjhp.12192