Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 93–108 | Cite as

Control across the life span: A model for understanding self-direction

  • Donald W. Tiffany
  • Phyllis G. Tiffany


A comprehensive four-factor interactive model on physical, psychological, and environmental processes related to the sense of control is presented for adult development with an emphasis on later life. The four experienced components are (1) control from within oneself, (2) control over oneself, (3) control over the environment, and (4) control from the environment. Control over oneself and over the environment measure self-directed control, while control from within oneself and from the environment measure nonself-directed control. Coping (a bidimensional control scale) measures control from powerlessness and suicide to overcontrolling. Findings confirm a significant loss of coping in an older cohort group from a white, rural sample composed primarily of single subjects with low coping representing a significant drop in self-directed behavior. A discussion of the relationship between self-direction and health in the older cohort group follows.

Key words

Experienced control coping life span self-direction 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald W. Tiffany
    • 1
  • Phyllis G. Tiffany
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychological Growth Associates, Inc.Lawrence

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