Self-controlled responses to COVID-19: Self-control and uncertainty predict responses to the COVID-19 pandemic

Jordan E. Rodriguez, Hayden L. Holmes, Jessica L. Alquist, Liad Uziel, Alec J. Stinnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Two online studies (Total N = 331) tested the hypothesis that individual differences in self-control and responses to uncertainty would predict adherence to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2020a) guidelines, reported stockpiling, and intentions to engage in hedonic behavior in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Trait self-control (b = 0.27, p =.015), desire for self-control (Study 1: b = 0.28, p =.001; Study 2: b = 0.27, p =.005), and cognitive uncertainty (b = 0.73, p <.001) predicted more CDC adherence. State self-control (Study 1: b = −0.15, p =.012; Study 2: b = −0.26, p <.001) predicted less stockpiling, whereas emotional uncertainty (b = 0.56, p <.001) and cognitive uncertainty (b = 0.61, p <.001) predicted more stockpiling. State self-control (b = −0.18, p =.003) predicted less hedonic behavior, whereas desire for self-control (b = 0.42, p <.001) and emotional uncertainty (b = 0.26, p =.018) predicted more hedonic behavior. Study 2 (pre-registered) also found that emotional uncertainty predicted more stockpiling and hedonic behavior for participants low in state self-control (stockpiling: b = −0.31, p <.001; hedonic behavior: b = 0.28, p =.025), but not for participants high in state self-control (stockpiling: b = 0.03, p =.795; hedonic behavior: b = −0.24, p =.066). These findings provide evidence that some forms of self-control and uncertainty influenced compliance with behavioral recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7321-7335
Number of pages15
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number9
Early online date10 Jul 2021
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the Binational Science Foundation (BSF; Proposal #2016044).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • COVID-19
  • Health behaviors
  • Self-control
  • Uncertainty


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