Self-Regulation: A Character Development Perspective: A Character Development Perspective

Christopher M. Napolitano, Madison N. Sewell, Heejun Yoon, Christopher Elmi, Brent W. Roberts

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The aim of this chapter is to better integrate the literatures on self-regulation and character. Using modern conceptualizations of both constructs, we argue that the relationship between self-regulation and character is bidirectional. Specifically, we propose two organizing theses regarding this relationship: (1) self-regulation allows a person to live an active, agentic, purpose-driven, character-oriented life; and (2) a person’s patterns of self-regulation can be considered a key aspect of their character and character development. To support these positions, we review three “modes” of self-regulation research, describing how work from each mode may relate to character: (1) the life-span developmental perspective; (2) the personality psychology perspective; and (3) the social, emotional, and behavioral skills perspective. Our review does not privilege any one mode of self-regulation research above another. Instead, we argue that each perspective provides valuable insight into character, and propose that the study of character may in fact provide a rare opportunity for “cross-pollination” across the modes of self-regulation research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge International Handbook of Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Character Development, Volume II
Subtitle of host publicationModerators, Threats, and Contexts
EditorsMichael D Matthews, Richard M Lerner
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781003252450
ISBN (Print)9781032172446
StatePublished - 2024

Publication series

NameRoutledge International Handbooks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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