International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 227-232

First online:

The concept of rigidity: An enigma

  • Len StewinAffiliated withUniversity of Alberta

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A controversy about the nature of behavioral rigidity exists in current psychological theory. To date, large bodies of empirical data have been accumulated which support two major theoretical perspectives. A dichotomy exists between the assumption that rigidity is a personality factor and the perspective that maintains that rigidity is task specific, a behavioral phenomena observable under certain conditions. This paper highlights the dichotomy by examining some of the relevant classical and recent research in the area. It is concluded that the concept must be used cautiously by both researchers and practitioners.