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Self-Regulation Theory or SRT is a system of conscious personal health management.
Self-regulation includes impulse control, the management of short-term desires. People with low impulse control are prone to acting on immediate desires. This is one route for such people to find their way to jail as many criminal acts occur in the heat of the moment. For non-violent people it can lead to losing friends through careless outbursts, or financial problems caused by making too many impulse purchases.
Although a doctor may give a patient sound medical advice, the theory states that only with self-regulation will the patient appropriately implement that advice. For medical treatment to be effective, the patient needs to be interested in improving one's own health.
SRT consists of several stages. First, the patient deliberately monitors one's own behavior, and evaluates how this behavior affects one's health. If the desired effect is not realized, the patient changes personal behavior. If the desired effect is realized, the patient reinforces the effect by continuing the behavior. (Kanfer 1970;1971;1980)[clarification needed]
Another approach is for the patient to realize a personal health issue and understand the factors involved in that issue. The patient must decide upon an action plan for resolving the health issue. The patient will need to deliberately monitor the results in order to appraise the effects, checking for any necessary changes in the action plan. (Leventhal & Nerenz 1984)[clarification needed]
Outside of health management, self-regulation theory is used to explain the cognitive bias known as illusion of control. To the extent that people are driven by internal goals concerned with the exercise of control over their environment, they will seek to reassert control in conditions of chaos, uncertainty or stress. Failing genuine control, one coping strategy will be to fall back on defensive attributions of control—leading to illusions of control (Fenton-O'Creevy et al., 2003).
Another factor that can help the patient reach his/her own goal of personal health is to relate to the patient the following: Help them figure out the personal/community views of the illness, appraise the risks involved, and give them potential problem-solving/coping skills. Four components of self-regulation described by Baumeister et al. (2007) are:
- Standards: Of desirable behaivor.
- Motivation: To meet standards.
- Monitoring: Of situations and thoughts that precede breaking standards.
- Willpower: Internal strength to control urges
- "Self-Regulation Theory". Retrieved 25 November 2012.
- Fenton-O’Creevy, M., Nicholson, N. and Soane, E., Willman, P. (2003) "Trading on illusions: Unrealistic perceptions of control and trading performance." Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology 76, 53-68.
- Kanfer 1970;1971;1980
- Leventhal & Nerenz 1984!
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