Personal control refers to “the perceived ability to significantly alter events” (Burger 1989). A high personal control corresponds to a belief that one can change the course of events, whereas a low personal control represents the lack of such belief.
Possessing a sense of personal control has been argued to be one of the most fundamental motivations. Because, it is adaptive from an evolutionary perspective as lacking personal control over the course of events would make it harder to survive and reproduce. Individuals vary in their sense of personal control and some have higher perceived control than the others.
Individual Differences in Personal Control
There are different conceptualizations of personal control. One of them is self-efficacy (Bandura 1994). A high level of self-efficacy would mean that the person strongly believes that he/she is capable of achieving a goal. Another concept is locus of control...
- Bandura, A. (1994). Self-efficacy. In V. S. Ramachaudran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of human behavior (Vol. 4, pp. 71–81). New York: Academic.Google Scholar