(New) Approaches and Challenges in Measuring Self-Regulation

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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10900/142684
Dokumentart: PhDThesis
Date: 2023-07-03
Language: English
Faculty: 7 Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Psychologie
Advisor: Gawrilow, Caterina (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2023-04-24
DDC Classifikation: 150 - Psychology
License: http://tobias-lib.uni-tuebingen.de/doku/lic_mit_pod.php?la=de http://tobias-lib.uni-tuebingen.de/doku/lic_mit_pod.php?la=en
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Research and clinical practice have long identified self-regulation, the ability to work towards a specific goal and ignoring internal as well as external distractions, as an important precursor for positive life outcomes, like vocational success, favorable health behavior, and better social relationships. However, the measurement methods to assess individuals’ self-regulation vary widely. Within this dissertation, I am examining different approaches in the measurement of self-regulation: depicting interindividual differences and intraindividual fluctuations via ambulatory assessment, investigating associations with internal and external factors, in this case sleep and executive functions, using the dimensional perspective to assess strengths and weaknesses, and comparing self- and observer reports to understand differences between assessments. In the first manuscript we investigated 70 schoolchildren aged 10-12 years on their self-regulation ability and their night sleep as well as their daytime sleepiness via ambulatory assessment (i.e., repeated measurement on technical devices) in their daily life. The second manuscript is based on the same sample and examines more closely the temporal fluctuations of self-regulation and working-memory performance (i.e., executive functioning), as well as their associations on the inter- and the intraindividual level. The third manuscript investigates self-regulation in 142 adults, using a dimensional questionnaire and comparing self- versus observer reports by a significant other. The results of the presented studies show that all measurement approaches have individual advantages and challenges. Measuring temporal fluctuations of self-regulation helps to differentiate inter- and intraindividual associations with internal and external factors like sleep and executive functions. However, it poses a high burden on the participants and requires considerable resources. Dimensional measurement permits the investigation of strengths and weaknesses within an individual and allows for new research questions but needs more groundwork in the development of valid and reliable scales. Including self- and observer reports into the assessment of self-regulation provides additional information about the target behavior but further research is needed concerning the factors which might influence the differences in reports. In conclusion, the discussed measurement approaches suggest a better understanding of self-regulation abilities in humans. However, more precise theory and additional research is needed to sufficiently understand how individuals self-regulate their cognition and behavior throughout their life.

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