Changing the world and changing the self: A two-process model of perceived control


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Abstract

Claims that attributions and their related behaviors may reflect a type of perceived control that is generally overlooked. People attempt to gain control by bringing the environment into line with their wishes (primary control) and by bringing themselves into line with environmental forces (secondary control). Four manifestations of secondary control are considered: (a) Attributions to severely limited ability can serve to enhance predictive control and protect against disappointment; (b) attributions to chance can reflect illusory control, since people often construe chance as a personal characteristic akin to an ability (“luck”); (c) attributions to powerful others permit vicarious control when the individual identifies with these others; and (d) the preceding attributions may foster interpretive control, in which the individual seeks to understand and derive meaning from otherwise uncontrollable events in order to accept them. (5½ p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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