Soc Personal Psychol Compass 2017 May 5;11(5). Epub 2017 May 5.
National Cancer Institute, NIH, DHHS.
Advances in theory and research on self-regulation and decision-making processes have yielded important insights into how cognitive, emotional, and social processes shape risk perceptions and risk-related decisions. We examine how self-regulation theory can be applied to inform our understanding of decision-making processes within the context of genomic testing, a clinical arena in which individuals face complex risk information and potentially life-altering decisions. After presenting key principles of self-regulation, we present a genomic testing case example to illustrate how principles related to risk representations, approach and avoidance motivations, emotion regulation, defensive responses, temporal construals, and capacities such as numeric abilities can shape decisions and psychological responses during the genomic testing process. We conclude with implications for using self-regulation theory to advance science within genomic testing and opportunities for how this research can inform further developments in self-regulation theory.