Self regulation is a concept we often use in pain management and in other areas of therapy where setting and achieving goals is a key aspect.
This post by Dale Schunk provides an excellent overview of some of the main areas in the approach, and includes a definition I particularly like Self-regulation, or systematic efforts to direct thoughts, feelings, and actions, toward the attainment of one’s goals (Zimmerman, 2000)
Albert Bandura is a well-known Canadian scholar who researches self efficacy and social cognitive theory. His theory of self efficacy and motivation is drawn on as a contributor to the self regulation construct. For more on his life, go to this site , and if you’re interested in Self efficacy in more detail, that site also has a good number of resources. I particularly liked this post on Ability vs Capability.
Self determination theory is a macro-theory of human motivation concerned with the development and functioning of personality within social contexts. The theory focuses on the degree to which human behaviors are volitional or self-determined – that is, the degree to which people endorse their actions at the highest level of reflection and engage in the actions with a full sense of choice.
Once you get past some of the psychobabble, this site has some great resources including validated questionnaires on self-regulation for healthcare, academic and exercise that have been developed for research.
When we develop new habits, we need to use self-regulation to become aware of how we are currently functioning, what we want to do that is new, and then monitor what we do and how close we get to our new behaviour. Senia Maymin’s post provides a good review of some of Baumeister’s theory, and encourages us to recognise that by developing self regulation and mastery in one area, we strengthen our ability to self regulate in all areas! So setting goals and achieving them in one area makes it easier to apply that same discipline elsewhere in life. Good to know!
Finally for today, Hall and Fong’s paper Temporal self-regulation theory: A model for individual health behavior from Health Psychology Review Volume 1, Issue 1 March 2007 , pages 6 – 52, provides a description of a model that frames behaviours depending upon the timescale being considered at the moment of choice – this, it is argued, can explain why so many people ‘know what to do’ that is best for health in the long term, but actually do things that are self-defeating, and have a short-term positive payoff.
I hope you enjoy this quick swing through some brief readings in self-regulation. There will be more as time goes on, so don’t forget to come on back and check in again to see what I’ve included in this roundup. If you haven’t already, remember you can subscribe to my blog using the RSS reader at the top of the page, or you can bookmark. And don’t forget to comment – I am always happy to read that someone’s reading this blog!!