This article presents a general framework in which different manifestations of psychopathology can be conceptualized as dysfunctions in one or more mechanisms of self-regulation, defined as the ongoing process of managing personal goal pursuit in the face of internal, interpersonal, and environmental forces that would derail it. The framework is based on the assertion that self-regulation is a critical locus for the proximal influence on motivation, cognition, emotion, and behavior of more distal factors such as genetics, temperament, socialization history, and neurophysiology. Psychological theories of self-regulation are ideal platforms from which to integrate the study of self-regulation both within and across traditional disciplines. This article has two related goals: to elucidate how the construct of self-regulation provides a unique conceptual platform for the study of psychopathology and to illustrate that platform by presenting our research on depression as an example.


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