Control and the Psychology of Health: Theory, Measurement, and Applications

Control and the Psychology of Health: Theory, Measurement, and Applications

Control and the Psychology of Health: Theory, Measurement, and Applications

Control and the Psychology of Health: Theory, Measurement, and Applications

Synopsis

• What is meant by 'control' in the psychology of health?
• How do different control-related concepts relate to each other?
• How can control be measured? This ambitious and much needed text presents a comprehensive review of theories and concepts that are central to our understanding of the psychology of health, including perceived control, locus of control, learned helplessness, self-efficacy and social support. The origin and theoretical development of each concept are explored, and the links between them analysed. Their current status as variables in health-related research is examined and examples of their applications in a variety of health care contexts are given, along with an overview of tools of measurement. The final chapters bring these concepts together within a single theoretical framework, which explains the potential interaction of personal control and social support in promoting and sustaining psychological well-being. For student courses, this book will enhance the understanding of control theory and its relevance to health behaviour change and health care interventions. In addition, it will aid conceptual clarity and measurement for those wishing to design research based on the concept of control.

Excerpt

This series of books in health psychology is designed to support postgraduate and postqualification studies in psychology, nursing, medicine and healthcare sciences, as well as the study of health psychology at undergraduate level. The framework in which the books are set is psychosocial rather than a medical disease, physiological systems or organic disease approach. Health psychology is growing rapidly as a field of study and a profession. Concerned as it is with the application of psychological theories and models in the promotion and maintenance of health, and the individual and interpersonal aspects of adaptive behaviour in illness and disability, health psychology has a wide remit and an important part to play in the future.

In this book, Jan Walker presents a comprehensive overview of concepts related to control. She covers such topics as perceived and personal control, locus of control, self-efficacy, mastery, social support and the emotional states that accompany them. The origins of these psychological concepts are explored and set within the context of developing ideas and theory in psychology. The reader can therefore understand how the ideas are both a product of their times and also influential in developing new ways to construe the world. The book is well referenced back to original sources. For health psychologists and other health professionals working with today's problems and issues, it is enlightening to realize that others have struggled with these concerns. However, this is not merely a theoretical book, it is also concerned with issues of measurement and practical applications, and is rich with examples drawn from Jan's practice as a nurse working predominantly with elderly people in Pain Clinics. The final chapter offers a new integrative model, which will challenge readers to explore the concept of control in more depth. The past few years have witnessed an important rethink about the way we approach the concept of control; this book aims to contribute to the debate.

Sheila Payne and Sandra Horn . . .

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