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.
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