The Sense of Personal Control: Social Structural Causes and Emotional Consequences

Chapter
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)

Abstract

The sense of personal control is the cognitive link between social structural conditions and emotional distress. The sense of personal control is the perception that one’s life is shaped by one’s own efforts and actions. Perceived control versus powerlessness is the cognitive imprint of structured inequality, disadvantage, and objective powerlessness, including socioeconomic status and its elements (educational attainment, work, and income); gender, age, neighborhoods, and race/ethnicity. A low sense of personal control in turn leads to depression, anxiety, and anger.

Keywords

personal control social inequality socioeconomic status psychological distress 

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Population Research CenterThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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