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

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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

Keywords

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

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