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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Too Much of a Good Thing? Overexertion of Self-Control and Dietary Adherence in Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes

  • Author(s): Jenkins, Brooke Nicole
  • Advisor(s): Rook, Kare S
  • et al.

Objectives: The resource model of self-control posits that self-control is a finite resource that can be depleted. Individuals with diabetes must continually control their diet, requiring self-control. As a result, dietary adherence is difficult, and lapses are common. People with diabetes who overexert self-control, to gain control of their diet, following a lapse in adherence may be especially likely to experience a subsequent relapse, as suggested by the resource model. This investigation used the resource model of self-control to test whether overexertion of dietary self-control following a lapse would be predictive of a subsequent relapse in dietary control. Design: We tested this prediction in a longitudinal daily diary study of 128 individuals with diabetes (Mage = 66.12). Methods: Participants’ reports of their daily dietary adherence were used to define lapses in adherence, post-lapse adherence, and relapses. Results: Individuals who overexerted self-control after a lapse were more likely to experience a subsequent relapse (OR = 3.276, p = .016) and to do so sooner (HR = 2.12, p = .023). Conclusions: People with diabetes may seek to compensate for a lapse in adherence by overexerting self-control, but doing so may deplete their self-control and increase the risk of a future relapse.

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