A guide to constructs of control

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1996 Sep;71(3):549-70. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.71.3.549.


An integrative framework, designed to organize the heterogeneous constructs related to "control", is based on 2 fundamental distinctions: (a) objective, subjective, and experiences of control; and (b) agents, means, and ends of control. The framework is used to analyze more than 100 terms, such as sense of control, proxy control, and primary control. It is argued that although many terms reflect aspects of perceived control (both distinct and overlapping), some are more usefully considered aspects of objective control conditions (e.g., contingency), potential antecedents of perceived control (e.g., choice), potential consequences (e.g., secondary control), sources of motivation for control (e.g., mastery), or other sources of motivation (e.g., autonomy). Implications for theory, measurement, research, and intervention are explored.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude*
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Motivation
  • Personality*
  • Self Concept
  • Social Perception