Genetic and Environmental Influences on Self-Control: Assessing Self-Control with the ASEBA Self-Control Scale

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Abstract

This study used a theoretically-derived set of items of the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment to develop the Achenbach Self-Control Scale (ASCS) for 7–16 year olds. Using a large dataset of over 20,000 children, who are enrolled in the Netherlands Twin Register, we demonstrated the psychometric properties of the ASCS for parent-, self- and teacher-report by examining internal and criterion validity, and inter-rater and test–retest reliability. We found associations between the ASCS and measures of well-being, educational achievement, and substance use. Next, we applied the classical twin design to estimate the genetic and environmental contributions to self-control. Genetic influences accounted for 64–75% of the variance in self-control based on parent- and teacher-report (age 7–12), and for 47–49% of the variance in self-control based on self-report (age 12–16), with the remaining variance accounted by non-shared environmental influences. In conclusion, we developed a validated and accessible self-control scale, and show that genetic influences explain a majority of the individual differences in self-control across youth aged 7–16 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-146
Number of pages12
JournalBehavior Genetics
Volume48
Issue number2
Early online date5 Feb 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

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teachers
academic achievement
Netherlands
Self Report
Educational Status
Self-Control
Psychometrics
Individuality
youth

Keywords

  • ASEBA
  • Heritability
  • Parent-report
  • Self-control
  • Self-report
  • Teacher-report

Cite this

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title = "Genetic and Environmental Influences on Self-Control: Assessing Self-Control with the ASEBA Self-Control Scale",
abstract = "This study used a theoretically-derived set of items of the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment to develop the Achenbach Self-Control Scale (ASCS) for 7–16 year olds. Using a large dataset of over 20,000 children, who are enrolled in the Netherlands Twin Register, we demonstrated the psychometric properties of the ASCS for parent-, self- and teacher-report by examining internal and criterion validity, and inter-rater and test–retest reliability. We found associations between the ASCS and measures of well-being, educational achievement, and substance use. Next, we applied the classical twin design to estimate the genetic and environmental contributions to self-control. Genetic influences accounted for 64–75{\%} of the variance in self-control based on parent- and teacher-report (age 7–12), and for 47–49{\%} of the variance in self-control based on self-report (age 12–16), with the remaining variance accounted by non-shared environmental influences. In conclusion, we developed a validated and accessible self-control scale, and show that genetic influences explain a majority of the individual differences in self-control across youth aged 7–16 years.",
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author = "Willems, {Yayouk E.} and Dolan, {Conor V.} and {van Beijsterveldt}, {Catharina E.M.} and {de Zeeuw}, {Eveline L.} and Boomsma, {Dorret I.} and Meike Bartels and Catrin Finkenauer",
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AU - Dolan, Conor V.

AU - van Beijsterveldt, Catharina E.M.

AU - de Zeeuw, Eveline L.

AU - Boomsma, Dorret I.

AU - Bartels, Meike

AU - Finkenauer, Catrin

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