Current Psychology

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 164–170 | Cite as

Primary, secondary, and emotional control across adulthood

  • Jasmin Tahmaseb McConatha
  • Haley M. Huba


Schulz and Heckhausen (1996) have recently formulated a theory of successful aging that centers on perceptions of control as a major theme in the developmental process. They suggest primary control is a universal phenomenon and that people will strive for primary control over secondary control. Secondary control mechanisms, on the other hand, may serve to mediate losses in primary control. This study evaluates the relationship between primary and secondary control among 327 men and women, by administering a general sense of control scale and an emotion control measure with four sub-scales. Consistent with previous research, both age and gender differences were found in primary and secondary control. The results of this study provide support for the theory of emotional selectivity which postulates that as people age they are more able to regulate their emotions, thereby directing energies at increasing secondary control mechanisms (Carstensen, 1986).


General Sense Successful Aging Current Psychology Primary Control Control Scale 
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Copyright information

© Springer 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jasmin Tahmaseb McConatha
    • 1
  • Haley M. Huba
    • 1
  1. 1.West Chester UniversityUSA

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