, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 205-213
Date: 01 May 2010

Individual differences in ego depletion: The role of sociotropy-autonomy

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In his cognitive theory of depression, Beck (1987) suggested that highly sociotropic individuals have a strong need for social acceptance whereas highly autonomous individuals have an excessive need for achievement. Research by Baumeister (2000) has suggested that a phenomenon known as ego depletion, the weakening of performance on tasks following active self-control, occurs because it depletes a limited inner resource. The present study examined whether individuals who are highly sociotropic or autonomous would respond differently when faced with tasks requiring self-control. Participants completed the Sociotropy-Autonomy Scale (Clark et al. 1995) and engaged in two active self-control tasks. The results revealed that sociotropy levels were negatively correlated with persistence on tasks that require self-control whereas autonomy was positively correlated to persistence on the same task. In addition, the results suggested that, following a task requiring self-control, highly sociotropic individuals expend less effort, whereas highly autonomous individuals expend more effort on subsequent tasks requiring self-control.