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UAlbany Professor Investigates Relationship Between Self-Control and Coping with Department of Defense Grant

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 1, 2008) -- University at Albany-SUNY psychology professor Mark Muraven will investigate the role of self-control in coping with stress with a three-year $600,000 grant from the Department of Defense Army Research Institute.

"If successful, these results may lead to applied research on helping people deal with stresses, as well as treatments to build self-control," said Muraven.

With the project, Muraven will build on research conducted at his Self-Control in Life laboratory, which focuses on applied issues, such smoking, addictions, and crime, as well as more theoretical issues, including why self-control is easier in some situations than in others. Part of Muraven's research examines why self-control fails and whether it is possible to improve self-control performance.

Muraven's prior research suggests that self-control -- much like a muscle -- fatigues with use and gets stronger with practice. Therefore, after exerting self-control, strength is depleted and subsequent attempts at self-control are more likely to fail. However, regular practice of small acts of self-control (i.e. limiting cursing) appears to increase self-control strength, which can lead to better self-control in many domains.

To date, Muraven has generated more than $2 million in research support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and now the Department of Defense.

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