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Beliefs about Control and Health Behavior

  • Richard R. Lau

Abstract

The desire to control one’s environment and the events in one’s life is a very general human motive. It plays a central role in several basic (although very different) theories of personality and social psychology (e.g., Bandura, 1977; de Charms, 1968; Fromm, 1941; Kelley, 1967; White, 1959). Because the desire for control is such a general motivation, beliefs about whether one has control over one’s life have attracted much research interest. The research that is relevant to health falls into three main categories. The first addresses the question of the extent to which control reduces the stressfulness of an aversive event. The second type of research looks at the results of an attributional style known as “learned helplessness.” The third category of research includes those studies that look at more generalized beliefs about control as an individual difference or personality factor. This chapter will briefly review the first two of these theoretical orientations before delving more deeply into the third individual difference or “locus of control” approach. A brief summary at the end of this chapter will attempt to tie these three orientations together again.

Keywords

Health Behavior Health Locus Attributional Style Control Belief Control Scale 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard R. Lau
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social and Decision SciencesCarnegie-Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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