Two aspects of perceived control, locus of control (LOC) and perceived competence (COM), command significant attention in personality and aging research. Mainly, these concepts are regarded as stable variables of considerable promise for predicting a range of outcomes. The authors concentrate on week-to-week within-person variability in self-reported LOC and COM. Using data collected over 7 months, the authors first demonstrates that the responses of a panel of older participants are structurally consistent with dominant conceptions of perceived control and that the responses maintain an underlying structure over the frequently repeated protocol. They next show that the within-person variation over weekly measurements is coherent information rather than "noise" and that individual differences in magnitude of week-to-week variability are a relatively stable attribute that predicts mortality status 5 years later. Implications of the findings for both methodological and substantive concerns are discussed.
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