“When the going gets tough, who keeps going?” Depletion sensitivity moderates the ego-depletion effect

S.J. Salmon, M.A. Adriaanse, E.W.M.L. de Vet, B.M. Fennis, D.T.D. de Ridder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Self-control relies on a limited resource that can get depleted, a phenomenon that has been labeled ego-depletion. We argue that individuals may differ in their sensitivity to depleting tasks, and that consequently some people deplete their self-control resource at a faster rate than others. In three studies, we assessed individual differences in depletion sensitivity, and demonstrate that depletion sensitivity moderates ego-depletion effects. The Depletion Sensitivity Scale (DSS) was employed to assess depletion sensitivity. Study 1 employs the DSS to demonstrate that individual differences in sensitivity to ego-depletion exist. Study 2 shows moderate correlations of depletion sensitivity with related self-control concepts, indicating that these scales measure conceptually distinct constructs. Study 3 demonstrates that depletion sensitivity moderates the ego-depletion effect. Specifically, participants who are sensitive to depletion performed worse on a second self-control task, indicating a stronger ego-depletion effect, compared to participants less sensitive to depletion.
Original languageEnglish
Article number647
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • limited-resource account
  • trait self-control
  • strength model
  • metaanalysis
  • impulsivity
  • performance
  • behavior

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