Staying on track in turbulent times: Trait self-control and goal pursuit during self-quarantine

Michail D. Kokkoris*, Olga Stavrova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
144 Downloads (Pure)


Prior research has shown that routines and beneficial habits largely explain high self-control people's success at goal pursuit. However, COVID-19 self-quarantine measures and country-level lockdowns have largely challenged people's ability to stick to their daily routines and habits. How successful at goal pursuit are people with high self-control when the world around them is not as it used to be? We examined if self-control passes the ‘quarantine test’. In an online study (N = 271), we measured trait self-control, goal progress, continued engagement in pre-pandemic goal-directed behaviors, development of new goal-directed behaviors and turning these new behaviors into habits. Results showed that during lockdown, people with higher (vs. lower) trait self-control were not only more likely to continue engaging in pre-pandemic goal-directed behaviors, but also found it easier to develop new goal-directed behaviors and were more likely to turn these behaviors into habits. High self-control people's ability to continue performing pre-pandemic goal-directed behaviors and to turn new behaviors into habits explained their success at goal attainment despite the major disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110454
Number of pages4
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Flexibility
  • Goal progress
  • Goal pursuit
  • Goals
  • Habits
  • Quarantine
  • Self-control


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