Self-Control is Protective against High Risk Drinking (Binge Drinking)

A study of minority urban females that followed them from their first year of high school for eight years found that self-control had a long-term protective function in reducing high-risk drinking. Assessments at the beginning of the study were highly predictive of the incidence of subsequent high-risk drinking.

The study reported that self-control in adolescence had a broad and enduring protective effect on risky drinking and other risky behaviors eight years later.

One group of subjects reported low levels of risky drinking and sexual behavior, another reported high risk drinking but low risk sexual behavior, and a third group reported high levels of both behaviors. Subjects who had high levels of self-control at the beginning of the study were much more likely to be in the low risk drinking and low risk sex category.

These findings are consistent with other research evidence that individual differences in self-control, high sensation seeking, risk-taking, and related variables are very predictive of subsequent alcohol problems. They also predict age at first drink, which does not appear itself to cause subsequent drinking problems.

Note: This website is informational only. It does not make any suggestions or recommendations about alcohol, drinking, self-control, or any other matters and none should be inferred.


  • Griffin, K.W., et al. Long-term effects of self-control on alcohol use and sexual behavior among urban minority young women. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2012, 9(1), 1-23.

Readings on Self-Control and Drinking Alcohol

  • (listing does not imply endorsement)
  • Collins, R.L., et al. Drinking restraint and alcohol-related outcomes: exploring the contributions of beverage instructions, beverage content and self-monitoring. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 1996, 57(5), 563-571.
  • Collins, R.L. Drinking restraint and risk for alcohol abuse. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 1993, 1, 44-54.
  • Gibbs, J.J., et al. Parental management and self-control: An empirical test of Gottfredson and Hirschi's general theory. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 1998, 35, 40-70.
  • Muravin, M, et al. Self-control and alcohol restraint: an initial application of the self-control strength model. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 2002, 16(2), 113-120.
  • Muravin, M, et al. Longitudinal improvement of self-regulation through practice: Building self-control strength through repeated exercise. Journal of Social Psychology, 1999, 139, 446–457.
  • Muravin, M. and Slessareva, E. Mechanisms of self-control failure: motivation and limited resources. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2003, 29, 894–906.
  • Muravin, M, et al. Self-control as a limited resource: Regulatory depletion patterns. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1998, 74, 774–789.
  • Muravin, M, et al. Daily fluctuations in self-control demands and alcohol intake. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 2005, 19(2), 140–147.

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