Integrating Models of Self-Regulation

Michael Inzlicht, Kaitlyn M. Werner, Julia L. Briskin, Brent W. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Self-regulation is a core aspect of human functioning that helps facilitate the successful pursuit of personal goals. There has been a proliferation of theories and models describing different aspects of self-regulation both within and outside of psychology. All of these models provide insights about self-regulation, but sometimes they talk past each other, make only shallow contributions, or make contributions that are underappreciated by scholars working in adjacent areas. The purpose of this article is to integrate across the many different models in order to refine the vast literature on self-regulation. To achieve this objective, we first review some of the more prominent models of self-regulation coming from social psychology, personality psychology, and cognitive neuroscience. We then integrate across these models based on four key elements-level of analysis, conflict, emotion, and cognitive functioning-specifically identifying points of convergence but also points of insufficient emphasis. We close with prescriptions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-345
Number of pages27
JournalAnnual review of psychology
Early online dateOct 5 2020
StatePublished - Jan 4 2021


  • cognitive ability
  • cognitive control
  • goals
  • personality
  • self-control
  • self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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