An investigation of naturally occurring episodes of self-controlled behaviors

Michael G. Perri, C. Steven Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The naturally occurring (i.e., self-initiated) episode of self-controlled behavior is a common experience that has received little attention from researchers. Through a structured interview procedure, a demographic questionnaire, and a paper-and-pencil test (Rotter's Internal-External Locus of Control Scale), the present study determined those factors and methods that are crucial to successful self-management. 48 male and 48 female college students were interviewed about their attempts to self-control overeating, smoking, studying, or dating; 12 "successful" and 12 "unsuccessful" Ss were interviewed in each problem area. Results indicate the following: (a) Successful self-controllers reported using more techniques for longer periods of time. (b) The use of self-reinforcement procedures was an important discriminant of successful self-management. (c) The methods used by successful self-controllers seemed to vary according to the problem with which they were dealing. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-183
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of counseling psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1977


  • use & variation in use of self control techniques, differentiation between successful vs unsuccessful self controllers, college students


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