Carver, C. S. (2005). Impulse and constraint: Perspectives from personality psychology, convergence with theory in other areas, and potential for integration. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 9, 312-333.

A behavioral dimension of impulse versus constraint has long been observed by personality psychologists. This article begins by reviewing processes underlying this dimension from the perspectives of several personality theories. Some cases of constraint reflect inhibition due to anxiety, but some theories also suggest other roots for constraint. Theories from developmental psychology accommodate both possibilities, by positing two sorts of control over action. These modes of influence strongly resemble those predicated in some personality theories and also two modes of function that are asserted by some cognitive and social psychological theories. Several further literatures are considered, to which two-mode models seem to contribute meaningfully. The article closes by addressing questions raised by these ideas, including whether the issue of impulse versus constraint applies to avoidance as well as to approach.

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University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology