Carver, C. S., Harris, S. D., Lehman, J. M., Durel, L. A., Antoni, M. H., Spencer, S. M., & Pozo-Kaderman, C.  (2000).  How important is the perception of personal control?  Studies of early stage breast cancer patients.  Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 139-150.

Two models of cognitive determinants of distress under adversity were tested in the experiences of two samples of newly treated breast cancer patients (ns = 144 and 202).  One model emphasizes the role of perceptions of personal control in subjective well being.  The other model emphasizes expectancies of the occurrence of desired outcomes.  In this research the outcome addressed was remaining free of cancer in the future.  In these two samples, beliefs about control over remaining free of cancer played no role in predicting distress, though expectancy of remaining cancer-free did.  Discussion focuses on conceptual boundaries on the concept of control, how difficult it is to assess control separately from expectancy regarding the desired outcome, and how conceptual clarity requires such a separation.

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University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology