The role of perceived control in well-being and its relation to age is well established.
Information on the relationship of subjective cultural orientation to these variables, particularly forms of primary and secondary control, is less than adequate. This study examined the relationship of cultural orientation, age, and well-being to control. Specifically, a) the nature of the individualism-collectivism constructs and their relationship to religious worldview, b) the relationship of cultural orientation to forms of primary and secondary control and as moderated by age, and c) the relationship of well being to forms of primary and secondary control and whether culture moderated those relationships were examined. Cultural orientation and religious worldview were measured with Triandis & Gelfand (1998) Individualism-Collectivism Scale and selected items from the Kambon (1997) WorldView Scale. Well-being was assessed with the Satisfaction With Life Scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen & Griffin, 1985) and Primary and Secondary items were adapted from pre-existing scales (Brandstadter & Renner, 1990; Peng,
1993, Wrosch, Heckhausen & Lachman, 2000). 265 ethnically diverse adults (age 18-88), from
Southeastern parts of the United States, participated in the study. Using correlation and multiple regression analyses, results indicated that the individualism-collectivism constructs were orthogonal. Furthermore cultural orientation, age, and well-being were significantly and differentially related to forms of primary and secondary control. Higher levels of individualism were associated with a lower religious worldview and forms of primary and secondary control that appear congruent with individualistic values. Higher levels of collectivism were related to a higher religious worldview and forms of primary and secondary control that appear consistent with the religious underpinnings in collectivism. Older adults in this sample enjoyed higher life satisfaction and used more secondary control coping strategies. In general, a greater life satisfaction was associated with selective primary control and positive reappraisal secondary control. Findings are discussed in terms of their potential implications for clinical practice and future research.