Academic Success of “Tiger Cubs”: Self-Control (not IQ) Predicts Academic Growth and Explains Girls’ Edge in Taiwan

Hsiang Yi Wu, Franki Y.H. Kung, Hsueh Chih Chen, Young Hoon Kim*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Studies in the United States have shown that self-control can predict academic performance beyond intelligence quotient (IQ), which also explains why girls (vs. boys) tend to have higher grades. However, empirical evidence is scarce; moreover, little is known about whether these effects generalize to other cultures. To address these limitations, we conducted a 2-year longitudinal study in Asia and examined the effects of self-control, IQ, and gender on students’ academic achievement over time. Specifically, we first measured 195 Taiwanese seventh grades’ self-control and IQ, and then traced their overall grades over four school semesters. Latent growth curve model analyses suggest that IQ predicted students’ initial academic performance more strongly than self-control; however, self-control—but not IQ—predicted students’ academic growth across the four time points and explained girls’ higher grades. Overall, the findings support the argument that self-control has unique long-term benefits academically and provide initial evidence outside of the North American context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)698-705
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Aug 1


  • academic performance
  • culture
  • IQ
  • longitudinal
  • self-control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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