Self-control depletion impairs goal maintenance: A meta-analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Initial exertion of self-control has been suggested to impair subsequent self-regulatory performance. The specific cognitive processes that underlie this ego depletion effect have rarely been examined. Drawing on the dual-process theory of executive control (Engle & Kane, ; Kane & Engle, ), the current meta-analysis revealed that initial self-control exertion impairs participants' capacities of maintaining the task goal but its effect on capacities of resolving response competition is in need of further investigation. Our results are more consistent with recent theoretical views that consider ego depletion as a switch cost and a result arising from reduced motivation to engage in further self-control.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)


  • Competition resolution, Ego depletion, Goal maintenance, Self-control
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-293
JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date2017 Jun 20
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Aug
Publication categoryResearch