Control theory: A useful conceptual framework for personality-social, clinical, and health psychology

Charles S. Carver, Michael F. Scheier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1255 Scopus citations


Contends that control theory provides a model of self-regulation that is useful in the analysis of human behavior. As an illustration of the breadth of its applicability, the basic construct of control theory--the discrepancy-reducing feedback loop--is presented, and certain implications for theory in 3 areas of human psychology are discussed. In personality-social, clinical, and health psychology, the construct proves to fit well with known phenomena and with the theories most recently developed to account for the phenomena. Moreover, in each case control theory appears to make a unique contribution to the state of the area. The integrative potential suggested by these illustrations and some issues that should receive attention in future work are noted. (3 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-135
Number of pages25
JournalPsychological Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 1982



  • application of control theory to personality-social & clinical & health psychology, literature review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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