Self-regulation can be defined as those processes, internal and transactional, that enable an individual to guide his or her goal-directed activities over time and across changing circumstances and contexts. Self-regulation involves continuous modulation of thought, affect, behavior, or attention via intentional as well as automatic use of specific mechanisms and strategies. There are a number of theories and conceptual models that describe these ongoing processes, typically construing the person as an active agent and decision maker and also incorporating an emphasis on automatic, unintended, and even counterproductive aspects of behavior regulation in the service of goal pursuit. This entry briefly summarizes several of the major theoretical approaches to self-regulation, drawing primarily from social and personality psychology.

Control Theory

Much of the early research on self-regulation incorporated the ...

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