At every point in the life span, individual differences in a sense of control are strong predictors of motivation, coping, success, and failure in a wide range of life domains. What are the origins of these individual differences, how do they develop, and what are the mechanisms by which they exert such influence on psychological functioning? This book draws on theories and research covering key control constructs, including self-efficacy, learned helplessness, locus of control, and attribution theory. Ellen A. Skinner discusses such issues as the origins of control in social interactions; environmental features that promote or undermine control; developmental change in the mechanisms by which experiences of control have their effects on action; and the implications for intervening into the competence system, including interventions for people in uncontrollable circumstances. Written at a level appropriate for upper-division undergraduates, the book can serve as a supplement to the social and personality development course as well as a core text for motivation, educational psychology, or clinical courses at the graduate level. This book won't be the first one on the topic, but it will be the first one that professionals and graduate students turn to whenever they want a definitive opinion on complex questions of control or an idea for cutting-edge research on the topic of motivation, coping, and control.