For centuries, people have struggled with the challenge of succeeding at self-control. In a given day, people are able to a great number of tasks. In a given moment, it is actually very difficult to exert self-control if it is needed. My research is aimed at understanding how personality traits and situational factors are involved in successful self-control.
My current research focuses on understanding the self in social context. My research team and I have found that the presence of others who are successful at self-control (either as a trait or in a situation) can increase the extent to which a person exerts self-control. There appears to be a limit to the benefit of others, however. People who are perceived as overachievers actually undermine the motivation required to exert self-control and lead to decreased performance and persistence. Additionally, my research team is currently examining how people navigate their social world to increase their likelihood of exerting self-control and how couples manage the responsibility each partner bears for contributing to joint efforts.
In addition, I maintain active research projects investigating the self-system more generally, including how people think about their self-esteem and how social relationships are a fundamental framework through which the self is understood and managed.
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- Smart Richman, L., vanDellen, M.R., & Wood, W. (in press). How women cope: Being a numerical minority in a male-dominated profession. Journal of Social Issues.
- Boals, A., vanDellen, M. R., & Banks, J. B. (2011). The relationships between self-control and mental and physical health: The mediating effects of avoidant coping. Psychology and Health.
- vanDellen, M. R., & Baker, E. (2011). Implicit delegation of responsibility: Joint self-control in close relationships. Social Psychological and Personality Science.
- vanDellen, M. R., Hoy, M. B., Hoyle, R. H., & Fernandez, K.C. (2011). Contingencies of self-worth and the social monitoring system. Personality and Individual Differences, 50, 59-63.
- vanDellen, M. R., Campbell, W. K., Hoyle, R. H., & Bradfield, E. K. (2011). Compensating, resisting, and breaking: A meta-analytical investigation of reactions to threat. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 15, 51-74.
- vanDellen, M. R., & Hoyle, R. H. (2010). Regulatory accessibility and social influences on state self-control. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 251-263.
- vanDellen, M. R., Hoy, M. B., & Hoyle, R. H. (2009). Contingent self-worth and social information processing: Cognitive associations between domain performance and social relations. Social Cognition, 27.
- vanDellen, M. R., & Hoyle, R. H. (2008). Possible selves as behavioral standards in self-regulation. Self and Identity, 7, 295-304.
- vanDellen, M. R., Allen, A. B., & Campbell, W. K. (in press). Self-esteem, narcissism, and self-compassion: Individual differences in reacting to social exclusion. To appear in C.N. DeWall (Ed.), Handbook of Social Exclusion.
- vanDellen, M. R., Bradfield, E. K., Hoyle, R. H. (2010). Self-regulation of state self-esteem following threat: Moderation by trait self-esteem (pp. 430-446). In R. H. Hoyle (Ed.), Handbook of self-regulation and personality. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
- Elementary Psychology
- Honors Seminar in Elementary Psychology
- Research Analysis/Statistical Methods
- Research Laboratory in Social Psychology
- Social Cognition
- Social Psychology
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
417 Chapel Drive
Durham, NC 27708