The finding that perceptions of control and feelings of self-efficacy are beneficial and adaptive is robust. People with a strong sense of perceived control generally fare better (both mentally and physically) than do those who do not hold such beliefs. However, the relationships between health and aspects such as desire for control and maladaptive control beliefs are less studied. Some research suggests that there may be an adaptive level of control for certain situations, and that an individual's desire for control should be considered when explaining positive or negative outcomes. Research that aims to increase and/or maintain high levels of perceived control in adulthood and later life becomes an increasingly fertile area of investigation as the population ages. Whether effecting change directly in an individual, an entire social group, or through the restructuring or developing of institutions, hospitals, or communities, innovative ideas from a collection of fields (e.g., psychology, medicine, architecture) may change the way people age.
HEATHER R. WALEN
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