Higher Education

Self-Directed Behavior: Self-Modification for Personal Adjustment, 10th Edition

  • David L. Watson University of Hawaii
  • Roland G. Tharp University of California, Santa Cruz
  • ISBN-10: 1285077091  |  ISBN-13: 9781285077093
  • 432 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2007, 2002, 1997
  • © 2014 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $120.50
  *Why an online review copy?
  • It's the greener, leaner way to review! An online copy cuts down on paper and on time. Reduce the wait (and the weight) of printed texts. Your online copy arrives instantly, and you can review it anytime from your computer or favorite mobile device.

If you prefer a print copy to review, please contact your representative.



SELF-DIRECTED BEHAVIOR is designed to help students achieve whatever life goals they set for themselves. The authors provide a general theory of behavior, guide students through exercises for developing skills in self-analysis, and provide scientifically based instruction in the principles and practices of self-applied psychology. Numerous strategies, based on theory and research, equip students to apply their new skills to different behaviors and in different settings. Case examples demonstrate how the authors' students have successfully used the book's techniques. Completely updated, the tenth edition incorporates recent research, additional topics such as the self-regulation of emotion and Dweck's concept of mindset, and a new case study on weight control that runs throughout the book. This text has helped over one half million readers and will continue to support instructors in their quest to assist students with their self-change goals. Available with InfoTracĀ® Student Collections http://gocengage.com/infotrac.

Features and Benefits

  • Each chapter begins with an Outline and Learning Objectives to help guide students' reading.
  • Key terms are highlighted in bold throughout the narrative of the text.
  • End-of-chapter materials include a "Tips for Typical Topics" (such as time management, shyness, and overeating) that suggest specific applications of the general principles treated in the chapter; a Chapter Summary; and a step in the "Your Own Self-Direction Project."
  • Each chapter includes another step in the "Your Own Self-Direction Project," a sample project for students to complete that will help them understand what a completed self-modification project looks like and how to plan one for themselves.
  • Case examples demonstrate how the authors' own students have successfully used the book's techniques, including one student who used shaping to gradually increase her ability to study, and another who learned to be more sure of himself on dates by consciously modeling a friend's confident behavior.
  • Plans and suggestions help students be successful in many pertinent areas. For instance, an outline of self-directed learning includes suggestions for behavioral changes that students can make to become better students. Acknowledging that many students have testing anxiety, the authors include a complete, empirically based plan with a mnemonic that teaches students how to take tests with efficiency and without anxiety. In addition, David L. Watson's theory of "the mindful diet" is included, along with directions for use and a complete description of a successful diet story.
  • The text ends with an adaptation of research from positive psychology on achieving happiness, showing how to use self-modification to strive for happiness in life. The authors stipulate behavioral goals leading to happiness and strategies for reaching them.

Table of Contents

1. Adjustment and the Skills of Self-Direction.
2. Forethought: Specifying Targets, Anticipating Obstacles, and Creating Goals.
3. Self-Knowledge: Observation and Recording.
4. The Principles of Self-Regulation.
5. Antecedents.
6. Behaviors: Actions, Thoughts, and Feelings.
7. Consequences.
8. Developing a Successful Plan.
9. Problem Solving and Relapse Prevention.
10. Termination and Beyond.

What's New

  • Based on the authors' review of all relevant literature for every chapter, the text incorporates many changes to reflect up-to-date data and theory. This edition also augments its research base, providing additional empirical support for the procedures you teach.
  • This edition explains and uses the strength model of will power, and introduces and fully integrates the overarching theory of how people change.
  • Many new concepts are introduced, including Dweck's new concept of mindset and how it affects self-control, the advantages of planning for problems before they occur, acceptance and commitment therapy, and the self-regulation of emotion.
  • Reflecting the emphasis on weight control in our society, this edition weaves a new, detailed account of a weight control case throughout each chapter.
  • Discussion of recent research includes new material on being a successful college student, social anxiety, positive psychology and its use in achieving goals, the conflict theory of will power failure, how thought suppression can create problems, how rumination can lead to depression, and how thinking of three good things can lift a low mood.
  • The Tenth Edition presents a "classic case" in each chapter, introducing readers to some of the well-known--and still relevant--cases in the behavior modification field.
  • InfoTracĀ® Student Collections are specialized databases expertly drawn from the Gale Academic One library. Each InfoTracĀ® Student Collection enhances the student learning experience in the specific course area related to the product. These specialized databases allow access to hundreds of scholarly and popular publications - all reliable sources - including journals, encyclopedias, and academic reports. Learn more and access at: http://gocengage.com/infotrac.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Instructor Supplements

Online Instructor's Manual with Test Bank  (ISBN-10: 1285425693 | ISBN-13: 9781285425696)

The Instructor's Manual with Test Bank contains a variety of resources to aid instructors in preparing and presenting text material in a manner that meets their personal preferences and course needs. It presents chapter-by-chapter suggestions and resources to enhance and facilitate learning, and a Test Bank with items for quizzes and exams. This resource can be found on the Instructor Companion Website.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

David L. Watson

David L. Watson is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and a Charter Fellow of the American Psychological Society. Watson is well known for his work in social anxiety, having developed the original scale to measure it. He has written textbooks in introductory psychology, social psychology, and learning skills. Watson is an enthusiastic world traveler, having visited over 100 countries. He speaks French and Greek, and is a certified master gardener, specializing in xerophytic plants. He divides his time now between Honolulu and Albuquerque.

Roland G. Tharp

Roland George Tharp is a distinguished researcher, psychologist, educator, writer, and filmmaker. Over the course of his career he has received repeated recognition for excellence and leadership in every arena of his work. Tharp is professor emeritus of education and psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Hawaii. He is the founding director of the national Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence (CREDE) and the Kamehameha Elementary Education Program (KEEP). His research focuses on human development, psychotherapy, community psychology, education, culture, anthropology, and applied linguistics. Tharp is considered a distinguished researcher, practitioner, and author in the areas of education, educational reform, and the development of sociocultural theory. His work spans more than 40 years.