Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Ellen L. Usher


Students who are good self-regulators have higher motivation and achievement than those who are not. The beliefs students hold influence the goals they set, how they regulate learning, their motivation, and their subsequent actions. Beliefs about one’s own willpower (the capacity to exert self-control in everyday life) have been shown to affect individuals’ self-regulation. Willpower has been conceptualized as a limited resource that is easily depleted in demanding situations. However, some researchers have shown that individuals’ beliefs about willpower capacity (i.e., as finite or abundant), and not their actual willful acts, are more predictive of self-regulated behavior. Researchers have similarly shown that students’ beliefs in their personal self-regulatory capabilities predict self-regulation, and subsequently, academic achievement. This study explored the relationship between willpower beliefs, self-efficacy for self-regulation, academic self-regulation, and achievement among college students. Participants were undergraduate students (N = 536) enrolled in an introductory biology course in Fall 2017 at a southeastern U.S. university. Self-efficacy for self-regulation was significantly correlated with effort regulation, time and study environment regulation, and final course grade, while willpower mindset was not. Findings from this study suggest that efforts intended to boost students’ self-regulatory self-efficacy might be a more worthwhile endeavor than teaching them that they can improve their willpower/self-control when supporting them in developing self-regulated learning skills.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)