• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

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 ...

What are the Origins of Perceived Control?
What are the origins of perceived control?

Children construct their beliefs about control cumulatively, through interactions with the environment in which interesting and important outcomes are at stake. When does this process start, and how does it work? The meta-theoretical assumption of an innate need suggests that it starts at birth. As described by Gurin and Brim (1984):

Through interacting with the world the infant early on begins to grasp understanding of causality and at the same time develops good feelings about the self. Both occur together as the infant has effects on the world. In those moments when the infant tries to make interesting experiences continue, one of life's critical dramas takes place. During this drama the infant's earlier ...

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