Self-control and well-being: The moderating roles of frustration intolerance and emotional intensity

Natali Efstathiou, Tennessee State University


The purpose of this study was to provide insight into how self-control, emotional intensity, and frustration intolerance interact with each other to influence well-being. More specifically, that self-control may affect well-being differentially depending on an individual's ability to tolerate distress (levels of frustration intolerance) and emotional intensity. Participants were 299 individuals (233 females and 66 males) recruited from undergraduate Psychology courses at Tennessee State University and various websites and chat-rooms in the World Wide Web. Seven measures were used, including a demographic questionnaire, the Frustration-Discomfort Scale, the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, the Self-Control Scale, the Satisfaction With Life Scale, the Ways of Coping Questionnaire-Revised, and the Emotional Intensity Scale Reduced. Data analysis included simple regressions and regression analysis procedures for testing moderator effects. Results from the present study showed that individuals with higher self-control reported significantly higher levels of well-being than individuals with lower levels of self-control. Individuals with higher levels of self-control also reported experiencing more positive and less negative emotions in their daily lives. Furthermore, individuals with higher levels of self-control reported more emotional stability by indicating significantly less intense negative emotions than individuals who reported lower levels of self-control. The results of the present study did not show support for the hypothesis that emotional intensity influences differentially the relationship between self-control and well-being. In other words, the results of the present study suggest that low self-control leads to deleterious effects on well-being regardless of the individual's level of emotional intensity. However, there was a significant moderating effect between frustration intolerance and self-control in predicting well-being. Specifically, individuals who have extreme difficulties in handling emotional or physical stress, in other words frustration intolerance, reported experiencing significantly lower levels of well-being when exercising poor self-control, or act impulsively. Results of the present study also suggested that individuals with higher levels of frustration intolerance are more likely to use avoidance and escape as coping strategies. Overall, the results of this study are relevant to furthering understanding and treatment of impulse control disorders and should be further explored in future studies.

Subject Area

Psychology|Personality psychology

Recommended Citation

Natali Efstathiou, "Self-control and well-being: The moderating roles of frustration intolerance and emotional intensity" (2013). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3599427.