The resource depletion model of self-regulation proposes that people's ability to perform deliberate, effortful thought and behavior is a limited resource, with earlier self-regulation depleting this resource, leaving less for subsequent tasks. The current research investigated the pervasiveness of self-regulation depletion, explored various tasks as potential means of counteracting depletion, and assessed how mood was impacted by both. In a series of seven studies, participants completed an initial task that required either high or low levels of self-regulation and subsequent self-regulation measurement tasks, along with pre- and post-task measurements of mood. Some participants also completed various intervening tasks to assess the potential of different activities to counteract depletion. Our research indicated that self-regulation depletion, while common, is not inevitable when one has completed an earlier self-regulation task. We also found little evidence that completing the various intervening tasks such as exercise, magazine reading, and drawing, replenished participants' self-regulation resources. We did, however, find clear evidence that mood, both in terms of mood valence and arousal levels, is impacted by self-regulation, and some indication that these mood effects played a small mediating role in depletion.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2011. Major: Psychology. Advisor: Wilma Koutstaal, PhD. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 164 pages, appendix A.
Klaphake, Sara L..
Depletion and replenishment: exploring self-regulation resource depletion, activities that replenish the resource, and the corresponding effects on mood..
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