Brief Self-Control Scale (BSCS)

General Information on the Measure
Purpose of the measure

The Brief Self-Control Scale (BSCS) is a measure of individual differences in self-control.

Main constructs measured

Intrapersonal competencies

Applicable grade levels

High school

Publication year for the most recent version


Year originally developed


Related measures
Measure Administration


Method of administration


Number of items


Item format

Five-point Likert-type scale

Administration time

Fewer than 10 minutes

Available languages


Fee for use Free and publicly available
Credentials required for administration


Overall score reporting

The overall self-control score is reported.

Subscore reporting

No subscores are reported.

Scoring procedures

The measure is self-scored.

Interpretive information

No information is available in the references reviewed.

Evidence of Technical Quality
Populations for which technical quality evidence has been collected

Evidence has been collected from two samples of undergraduate students from a state university on the East Coast (N=351, N=255) (Tangney et al., 2004).

Reliability evidence

Internal consistency estimates (alpha) were 0.83 and 0.85 in the two study samples. Test-retest reliability (three-week interval) estimate was 0.87 (Tangney et al., 2004).

Validity evidence
Evidence based on content
Initial item bank based on a comprehensive literature review (Tangney et al., 2004).
Evidence based on response processes
No information is available in the references reviewed.
Evidence based on internal structure
Items were removed from the item pool based on low item-total correlations and differential functioning based on gender differences (Tangney et al., 2004).
Evidence based on relations with other variables
Higher self-control scores correlated with higher grade point average, higher self-esteem, better interpersonal skills, and fewer unhealthy behaviors (including binge eating and alcohol abuse) (Tangney et al., 2004).
Locating the Measure
Obtaining a copy of the measure

Tangney, J. P., Baumeister, R. F., & Boone, A. L. , "High self‐control predicts good adjustment, less pathology, better grades, and interpersonal success," Journal of Personality, Vol. 72, No. 2, 2004, pp. 271–324.


Measure summary updated October 3, 2018.