Desirability of Control Scale


Author of Tool: 

Burger, Jerry.

Key references: 

Burger, J. M., & Cooper, H. M.  (1979).  The desirability of control.  Motivation and Emotion, 3, 381‑393. 

Primary use / Purpose: 

This scale measures individual differences in the general level of motivation to control the events in one’s life.


The desire for control is a general personality trait, relevant to many behaviors studied by both social and clinical psychologists.  Much research and theory suggests that an increase in perceived control is preferred and will result in positive reactions, whereas a decrease in control is not desired and will result in negative reactions. The Desirability of Control Scale is a measure of this desire to control personal scenarios.


The scale was found to have substantial internal consistency (.80), and test-retest reliability (.75), as well as discriminant validity from measures of locus of control (Rotter, 1966), and social desirability (Crowne & Marlowe, 1960). Construction validation was also accounted for. 



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