Scholarship on self-regulation has blossomed since the publication of the second editionof the Handbook of Self-Regulation in 2011. There have been a flood of papers, expansions into diverse areas of inquiry, and the development of ever more sophisticated methods and tools. The terrific explosion of theories and findings needed a home where the latest developments could be summarized for a general audience, and this edition was created with that in mind.
This edition of the Handbook is markedly different from the prior two. A few topics changed hands, to give readers a sense of how different teams approach similar topics. In Chapter 9, “Consensus versus Anarchy in the Senate of the Mind: On the Roles of High-Level versus Low-Level Construal in Self-Control,” Jessica J. Carnevale and Kentaro Fujita present an updated treatment of the popular construal-level theory. Beliefs and practices related to religion contribute to, and sometimes detract from, self-control, as discussed in Chapter 17, “Religion and Self-Regulation: Integrating Skills-Based and Motivation-Based Accounts,” by Kristin Laurin and Aaron C. Kay. In addition, Russell A. Barkley, a preeminent scholar of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, updated his chapter (Chapter 27) quite substantially to reflect new thinking. These fresh takes are highlights of the current edition.
The biggest change to the Handbook is the addition of 19 new chapters. That number alone attests to the progress that has taken place in the field of self-regulation. Implicit self-regulation processes are now included, reflecting the wealth of theorizing and empirical work in that area. Whether and how people regulate responses reflecting deep-seated mental associations is covered by Andrew M. Rivers, Jimmy Calanchini, and Jeffrey W. Sherman in Chapter 4, “Self-Regulation of Implicit Social Cognition.” The role of routine, often automatic, habits in aiding self-control is covered in Chapter 6, by Wendy Wood.
Several new chapters focus on physical needs. The role of sleep in successful selfregulation has been a surprisingly neglected topic, which Zlatan Krizan and Garrett Hisler seek to rectify in Chapter 11. The physiology of self-control, from the brain to other internal organs, is covered in Chapter 8, “Pause and Plan: The Physiology of Self-Regulation,” by Suzanne C. Segerstrom, Ian A. Boggero, and Daniel R. Evans. Motivation is a central component of self-control, and two new chapters focus on it. Motivational and attentional inputs to self-control are reviewed in Chapter 10, “Beyond Limited Resources: Self-Control Failure as the Product of Shifting Priorities,” by Michael Inzlicht and Brandon J. Schmeichel, to explain self-control failure. Wilhelm Hofmann and Kathleen D. Vohs summarize their work on feelings of desire instigating and thwarting self-control efforts in Chapter 5.
So many advances have occurred in studying self-regulation from social, organizational, and cultural perspectives that they garnered an entire new section. Trust is the bedrock of interpersonal, organizational, and economic exchange, and Catrin Finkenauer and Francesca Righetti’s work in Chapter 14, “Trust and the Perception of Self-Control: Knowing When to Trust Others,” shows that perceptions of trustworthiness rest in large part on whether the person is thought to have good self-control. Eli J. Finkel, Gráinne M. Fitzsimons, and Michelle R. vanDellen’s chapter (Chapter 15), “Self-Regulation as a Transactive Process: Reconceptualizing the Unit of Analysis for Goal Setting, Pursuit, and Outcomes,” is aimed at getting scholars to consider dyadic influences on self-control. How romantic partners seek to control each other is the focus of Chapter 16, by Jeffry A. Simpson, Nickola C. Overall, Allison K. Farrell, and Yuthika U. Girme. The workplace is where people spend a huge chunk of their time, and Drew B. Mallory and Deborah E. Rupp summarize research on workplace demands that people stifle, guide, and exaggerate their emotional reactions in Chapter 18, “Focusing in on the Emotion Laborer: Emotion Regulation at Work.”
Who exerts good self-control, and how to get more of it, are topics of three new chapters. Adding to an understanding of persistence in the face of obstacles is Lauren Eskreis-Winkler, James J. Gross, and Angela L. Duckworth’s chapter (Chapter 21) on grit. Persistence makes up a third of the facets (along with inhibition and initiation) in a new trait scale presented by Rick H. Hoyle and Erin K. Davisson in Chapter 22, “Varieties of Self-Control and Their Personality Correlates.” One of the most popular questions that arises in discussions of self-control effects is what can be done to improve one’s self-control. Training effects, such as the potential benefits of practicing self-control, are reviewed in an important new chapter (Chapter 24) by Elliot T. Berkman.