Naturally Occurring Perceptions of Control: A Model of Bounded Flexibility



The bulk of the research on perceived control indicates that we feel better about ourselves, are physically healthier, perform better on cognitive and manual tasks, cope better with adversity, and are better able to make desired behavioral changes if we have a sense of personal control (Thompson & Spacapan, 1991). Given these positive effects, it is not surprising that individuals are motivated to have control and tend to overestimate their abilities to influence events (Alloy & Abramson, 1979). However, it cannot be assumed that the motive to have control is without limit or disadvantage. For example, in “low-control” situations in which there are fewer opportunities for exercising effective control and increased likelihood that control perceptions will be disconfirmed, beliefs in personal control may not be beneficial and individuals may not overestimate their control. Not much is known about the motivation to believe that you have control when people are in life circumstances that limit the actual control available to them.


Psychological Adjustment Personal Control Irrational Belief Control Belief Dispositional Optimism 
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© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1993

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