Perceived control and health

Abstract

Perceived control (PC) is defined as thebelief that one can determine one’s own internal states and behavior, influence one’s environment, and/or bring about desired outcomes. Two important dimensions of PC are delineated: (1) whether the object of control is located in the past or the future and (2) whether the object of control is over outcome, behavior, or process. A variety of constructs and measures of PC (e.g., efficacy, attribution, and locus of control) are discussed in relation to these dimensions and selected studies are reviewed. The issues, controversies, and limits of the research on perceived control and health are addressed in terms of the antecedents and consequences of perceived control. Investigations should clearly conceptualize the object of perceived control, use measures that match the conceptualization, and when attempting to manipulate control, directly measure perceived control. The relation between PC and health outcomes is complex, and different aspects of PC may interact to affect health outcomes.

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Wallston, K.A., Wallston, B.S., Smith, S. et al. Perceived control and health. Current Psychology 6, 5–25 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02686633

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Keywords

  • Attributional Style
  • Control Belief
  • Efficacy Belief
  • Current Psychological Research
  • Verbal Persuasion