Does Self-control Outdo IQ in Predicting Academic Performance?

Alexander T. Vazsonyi, Magda Javakhishvili, Marek Blatny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Duckworth and Seligman’s seminal work found that self-discipline (self-control) was more salient for academic achievement than intelligence. Very little replication work exists, including in different cultures; the current study addressed these gaps. Data were collected from 6th and 7th grade cohorts of early adolescents (N = 589; age: Mean = 12.34 years, and SD = 0.89; 58% female) over two years. The study tested whether self-control was a stronger predictor than intelligence in explaining academic performance two years later as well as in explaining developmental changes over the course of two years. Path analyses provided evidence that both self-control and intelligence longitudinally predicted teacher-reported academic competence as well as school-reported grades; however, intelligence was a significantly stronger predictor than self-control. In addition, only intelligence predicted developmental changes in each measure of academic performance over time, self-control did not.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-508
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was funded by the John I. and Patricia J. Buster Endowment of Family Sciences, awarded to the first author; some additional support was provided by the Institute of Psychology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. No funding was received to assist with the preparation of this manuscript.

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


  • Academic achievement
  • Individual differences
  • Intelligence
  • Schools
  • Self-discipline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Does Self-control Outdo IQ in Predicting Academic Performance?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this