Psi Beta National Research Project 2014-2015

Self-Regulation, Mindset, and Relationships

The Psi Beta National Research Project for 2014-15 will investigate several factors associated with self-regulation’s impact on mindset and interpersonal relationships. The study incorporates many measures in order to give Psi Beta members more choices of the hypotheses they would like to test. One possible hypothesis, for example, is that the ability to self-regulate is positively correlated with effective interpersonal communication. Another is that the ability to self-regulate relates to holding a growth mindset about relationships, and a lower dependency on technology. Other hypotheses are possible. Data collection will consist of an online questionnaire that will become available by December 1st. Data collection will end February 20th, 2015, and data files (SPSS and Excel) will be available March 7th. Participating chapters are required to recruit a minimum of 30 participants. Please contact Psi Beta’s Executive Director, Jerry Rudmann, if your chapter plans to participate. More information about the study will be posted on the Psi Beta website by November 24th.

Background Literature – Research suggests that students weak in self-regulation may struggle academically, have trouble optimizing health-related behaviors (e.g., diet, exercise, sleep), and/or have difficulty with interpersonal relationships (Schunk & Zimmerman, 1997). Intentional self-regulation describes how people make choices, set goals, and plan and execute strategies designed to reach those goals. Intentional self-regulation is, therefore, central to healthy living (Gestsodotiir et al., 2010) and provides an area rich for research that may benefit America’s college students. A sampling of the self-regulation literature is informative. Engaging in self-regulation, for example, puts a demand upon finite bodily resources or energy which, if depleted, can decrease self-regulation (Baumeister, Gailliot, Dewall, & Oaten, 2006). Self-esteem plays a role in relationships. If self-esteem levels drop, a reduction of interpersonal interaction and self-regulation occurs (Baumeister & Vohs, 2011). Those having low self-regulation skills may experience interpersonal communication problems (Lee & Perry, 2004). Lee and Perry suggest that poor self-regulation of technology (e.g., social media, instant messaging, etc.) decreases face-to-face interactions, which leads to a preoccupation and loss of control; self-regulation becomes increasingly deficient as a consequence. Lee and Perry found that participants having low technology self-regulation postponed responsibilities and typically lacked sleep. In addition, self-theories, personally held assumptions about the acquisition of skills and personality traits, may play a role in self-regulation. Dweck’s (2006) Mindset theory posits that individuals with an entity mindset assume that intellectual abilities and skills are fixed, while individuals having an incremental or growth mindset believe one’s abilities develop through effort. A self-theory by Knee (1998) describes romantic relationships and how some people hold a “destiny belief” (satisfactory significant-other relationships are meant to be; a viewpoint conveyed by the popular media), while others hold a “growth belief,” thinking instead that every relationship inevitably encounters a myriad of challenges, and that struggling together to overcome challenges brings couples closer and strengthens their relationship.

The following measures are included in this year’s assessment questionnaire:

  • The PUMP Scale – A mobile phone addition scale (Merlo, Stone, & Bibbey, 2013)
  • The Mindset Scale – Carol Dweck’s intelligence and personality mindset scales (Dweck, 2006)
  • The COPE Inventory – A stress coping scale (Carver, 2013)
  • Relationship Beliefs Inventory – (Eidelson & Epstein, 1982)
  • Romantic Belief Scale – (Sprecher & Metts, 1989)
  • The Self-Control Scale – (DeWall, 2014)


Baumeister, R., & Vohs, K. (2011). Handbook of self-regulation: Research, theory, and applications (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.

Baumeister, R. F., Gailliot, M., Dewall, C. N., & Oaten, M. (2006). Self-regulation and personality: How interventions increase regulatory success, and how depletion moderates the effects of traits on behavior. Journal of Personality, 74(6), 1773-1802

Carver, C. S. (2013). COPE Inventory. Measurement instrument database for the social scineces. Retrieved from on October 25, 2014.

DeWall, N. (2014). Self-Control (unpublished instrument), University of Kentucky.

Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset the new psychology of success: How we can learn to fulfill our potential. New York: Random House Inc.

Eidelson, R. J., & Epstein, N. (1982). Cognition and relationship maladjustment: Development of a measurement of dysfunctional relationship beliefs. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 50, 715-720.

Gestsodottir, S., Bowers, E., von Eye, A., Napolitano, C., & Lerner, R. (2010). Intentional self-regulation in middle adolescence: The emerging role of loss-based selection in positive youth development. Journal of Youth Adolescence, 39, 764-782. doi: 10.1007/s10964-010-9537-2

Knee, C. R. Implicit theories of relationships: Assessment and prediction of romantic relationship initiation, copies, and longevity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(2), 360-370.

Lee, K. C., & Perry, S. D. (2004). Student instant message use in a ubiquitous computing environment: Effects of deficient self-regulation. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media48(3), 399-420.

Merlo, L. J., Stone, A. M., & Bibbey, A. (2013). Measuring problematic mobile phone use: Development and preliminary psychometric properties of the PUMP scale. Journal of
. Retreived from on October, 25, 2014.

Schunk, D. H., & Zimmerman, B. J. (1997). Social origins of self-regulatory competence. Educational Psychologist, 32(4), 195.

Sprecher, S., & Metts, S. (1989). Development of the ‘Romantic Beliefs Scale’ and examination of the effects of gender and gender-role orientation. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 6, 387-411.

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