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Are Low- or High-Effort Self-Control Strategies More Motivating?

  • Author / Creator
    Tian, Ding
  • Consumers often must employ self-control strategies to resist temptations in order to achieve their self-control goals. Although prior work has identified many useful self-control strategies, it remains unclear when and how the anticipated amount of effort required to implement a specific strategy affects subsequent motivation to exercise self-control. In this dissertation, I aim to extend prior literature by examining when the anticipated amount of effort (low vs. high) required by a self-control strategy facilitates (vs. undermines) subsequent self-control. I hypothesize that the effect of anticipated effort to be expended in the use of a strategy on self-control is moderated by whether desirability or feasibility concerns are more salient. Across different self-control domains (saving money, maintaining physical health, being persistent, and overcoming procrastination), six experiments provide converging evidence that anticipated effort associated with using a self-control strategy has a direct negative effect on self-control under a feasibility focus, whereas it has an indirect positive effect on self-control under a desirability focus via an increase in the perceived importance of the associated self-control goal. Furthermore, results show that this effect is independent of the actual use of the strategy. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2015-11
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3HM52Q96
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Doctoral
  • Department
    • Faculty of Business
  • Specialization
    • Marketing
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Häubl, Gerald (Marketing)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Argo, Jennifer (Marketing)
    • Moore, Sarah (Marketing)
    • Pracejus, John (Marketing)
    • Fishbach, Ayelet (Booth School of Business, University of Chicago)
    • Murray, Kyle (Marketing)