Mastery broadly refers to an individual’s belief in his or her ability to exert influence over life circumstances. The concept of mastery and its related terms, such as locus of control, control beliefs, and perceived control, date back to the 1950s and 1960s when initial research started to examine locus of control, which broadly refers to whether people believe that internal or external factors influence life circumstances. Since then, the concept of mastery or perceived control, as it will be referred to in this entry, has been studied extensively across the entire life span, in children and adolescence to individuals in young adulthood, midlife, and old age. The interest in perceived control has stemmed from its ability to facilitate adjustment to major life stressors and ...

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