Experimental and Measurement Approaches to Internal Control in At‐Risk Older Adults

John W. Reich, Alex J. Zautra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Perceived control and similar concepts are of central importance in studies of coping, adjustment, and well‐being; research suggests that these concepts might be usefully considered in a transactional, person‐environment framework. The studies reported here assessed internal‐external control and personal mastery in samples of at‐risk older adults coping with the major life stressors of recent physical disability or conjugal bereavement. These studies assessed the latent factor structure of control perceptions, and examined the role that dependency on other people and social networks plays in internal beliefs. The findings indicated that belief in one's ability to control the events of one's life is influenced by the life events one is experiencing, and that people who do not endorse internality beliefs (“low internals”) show significant positive mental health gains from dependency and reliance on other people. The social policy implications of these findings are discussed. 1991 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-158
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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