Professor of Psychology & Social Behavior
Ph.D. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Great Britain
(949) 824-9219
4316 Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway



life-span developmental psychology, motivation, individual agency and social context

Curriculum Vitae: 

General areas of interest are: life-span developmental psychology, motivational psychology, control behavior, psychological influences on health, and developmental regulation across the life span. My ongoing research addresses the role of the individual as an active agent in major life-course transitions and when confronted with challenging life events. Specifically, our research team currently conducts empirical studies in three areas: (1) psychological and in particular motivational processes involved in social mobility during the transition to adulthood, (2) goal engagement and disengagement during adulthood and old age, and (3) the role of individual differences in the regulation of goal engagement and in implicit motives for achievement, power and affiliation in shaping the way individuals influence their own development.

Web Links of Research Sites

Selected Journal Publications

  • Heckhausen, J. & Shane, J. (in press). Social mobility in the transition to adulthood: Societal opportunities and constraints for individual agency. In: L. A. Jensen (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Human Development and Culture. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

  • Shane, J., &  Heckhausen, J. (in press). For better or worse: Young adults’ opportunity beliefs and motivational self-regulation during career entry. International Journal of Behavioral Development.
  • Heckhausen, J., & Wrosch, C. (in press). Challenges to developmental regulation across the life course: What are they and which individual differences matter? International Journal of Behavioral Development.
  • Hamm, J. M., Perry, R. P., Chipperfield, J. G., Stewart, T. L., & Heckhausen, J. (in press). Motivation-focused thinking: Buffering against stress-related physical symptoms and depressive symptomatology. Psychology and Health.
  • Infurna, F. J., Wiest, M., Gerstorf, D., Ram, N., Schupp, J., Wagner, G. G., & Heckhausen, J. (in press). Changes in life satisfaction when losing one’s spouse: Individual differences in anticipation, reaction, adaptation, and longevity in the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP). Ageing and Society.
  • Villarreal, B. J., Heckhausen, J., Lessard, J. Greenberger, E., & Chen, C. (in press). High-school seniors’ short-term educational expectations: Do the costs of failing one’s expectations outweigh the benefits of ambitious expectations? Journal of Adolescence.
  • Hamm, J. M., Chipperfield, J. G., Perry, R. P., Heckhausen, J., & Mackenzie, C. S. (in press). Conflicted goal engagement: Undermining physical activity and health in late life. The Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences.
  • Heckhausen, J. (2014). Motivational affordances in school versus work contexts advantage different individuals: A possible explanation for domain-differential gender gaps. In: J. S. Eccles, & I. Schoon (Eds.), Gender differences in aspirations and attainment (pp. 346-362). London, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Gerstorf, D., Heckhausen, J., Ram, N., Infurna, F. J., Schupp, J., & Wagner, G. G. (2014). Perceived personal control buffers terminal decline in well-being. Psychology and Aging, 29, 612-625.
  • Heckhausen, J., Chang, E. E., Greenberger, E., Chen, C. (2013). Striving for educational and career goals during the transition after high school: What is beneficial? Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42, 1385-1398.
  • Steward, T. L., Chipperfield, J. G., Ruthig, J. C., Heckhausen, J. (2013). Downward social comparison and subjective well-being in late life: The moderating role of perceived control. Aging and Mental Health, 17, 375-385.
  • Heckhausen, J., Wrosch, C., Schulz, R. (2013). A lines-of-defense model for managing health threats: A review. Gerontology, 59, 438-447.
  • Hamm, J. M., Steward, T. L., Perry, R. P., Clifton, R. A., Chipperfield, J. G., Heckhausen, J. (2013). Sustaining primary control striving for achievement goals during challenging developmental transitions: The role of secondary control strategies. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 35, 286-297.
  • Haase, C., Heckhausen, J., Wrosch, C. (2013). Developmental regulation across the life span: Toward a new synthesis. Developmental Psychology, 49, 964-972.
  • Shane, J., Heckhausen, J. (2013). University students' causal conceptions about social mobility: Diverging pathways for believers in personal merit and luck. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 82, 10-19.
  • Grümer, S., Silbereisen, R. K., Heckhausen, J. (2013) Subjective well-being in times of social change: Congruence of control strategies and perceived control. International Journal of Psychology, 48, 1246-1259.
  • Shane, J., Heckhausen, J. (2012). Motivational self-regulation in the work domain: Congruence of individuals’ control striving and the control potential in their developmental ecologies. Research in Human Development, 9, 337-357.
  • Shane, J., Heckhausen, J., Lessard, J., Chen, C., & Greenberger, E. (2012). Career-related goal pursuit among post-high school youth: Relations between personal control beliefs and control strivings. Motivation and Emotion, 36, 159-169.
  • Haase, C., Poulin, M., & Heckhausen, J. (2012). Happiness as a motivator: Positive affect predicts primary control striving for career and educational goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38, 1093-1104.
  • Heckhausen, J. (2011). Agency and control striving across the lifespan. In: K. Fingerman, C. Berg, T. Antonucci, and J. Smith (Eds.). Handbook of lifespan psychology (pp. 183-212). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
  • Haase, C., Silbereisen, R. K., & Heckhausen, J. (2011). The interplay of occupational motivation and well-being during the transition from university to work. Developmental Psychology.
  • Mackay, J., Charles, S. T., Kemp, B., & Heckhausen, J. (2011). Goal striving and maladaptive coping in adults living with spinal cord injury: Associations with affective well-being. Journal of Aging and Health, 23, 158-176.
  • Tomasik, M., Silbereisen, R. K., & Heckhausen, J. (2010). Is it adaptive to disengage from demands of social change? Adjustment to developmental barriers in opportunity-deprived regions. Motivation and Emotion, 34, 384-398.
  • Hall, N. C., Chipperfield, J. G., Heckhausen, J., & Perry, R. P. (2010). Control striving in older adults with serious health problems: A 9-year longitudinal study of survival, health, and well-being. Psychology and Aging, 25, 432-445.
  • Heckhausen, J., Wrosch, C., & Schulz, R. (2010). A motivational theory of lifespan development. Psychological Review, 117, 32-60.
  • Heckhausen, J. (2010). Globalization, social inequality, and individual agency in human development: Social change for better or worse? (pp. 148-163). In: R. K. Silbereisen & X. Chen (Eds.). Social change and human development: Concepts and results. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Chang, E. S., Heckhausen, J., Greenberger, E., & Chen, C. (2010). Shared agency with parents for educational goals: Ethnic differences and implications for college adjustment. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39, 1293-1304.
  • Chang, E. S., Greenberger, E., Chen, C., Heckhausen, J. & Farruggia, S. P. (2010). Non-parental adults as social resources in the transition to adulthood. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 20, 1-18.
  • Heckhausen, J., & Chang, E. S. (2009). Can ambition help overcome social inequality in the transition to adulthood? Individual agency and societal opportunities in Germany and the United States. Research in Human Development, 6, 1-17.
  • Tomasik, M. J., Hardy, S., Haase, C. M., & Heckhausen, J. (2009). Adaptive adjustment of vocational aspirations among German youths during the transition from school to work. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 74,38-46.
  • Sorkin, D. H., Rook, K. S., Heckhausen, J., & Billimek, J. (2009). Predicting changes in older adults’ interpersonal control strivings. International Journal of Aging and Human Development.
  • Haynes, T. J., Heckhausen, J., Chipperfield, J. G., Newall, N. E., & Perry, R. P. (2009). Primary and secondary control strategies: Implications for health and well-being among older adults. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 28, 165-195.
  • Chung, W. Y., Chen, C., Greenberger, E., & Heckhausen, J. (2009). A cross-ethnic study of adolescents’ depressed mood and the erosion of parental warmth during the transition to young adulthood. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 19, 359-379.
  • Heckhausen, J. & Heckhausen, H. (2008, new edition 2010). Motivation and action. New York, NJ: Cambridge University Press.
  • Haase, C. M., Heckhausen, J., & Koeller, O. (2008). Goal engagement in the school-to-work transition: Beneficial for all, particularly for girls. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 18, 671-698.
  • Poulin, M. J. & Heckhausen, J. (2007). Stressful events compromise control strivings during a major life transition. Motivation and Emotion, 31,300-311.
  • Heckhausen, J. (2007). The motivation-volition divide and its resolution in action-phase models of behavioral and developmental regulation. Research in Human Development, 4, 163-180.
  • Chang, E. S., Chen, C., Greenberger, E., Dooley, D., & Heckhausen, J. (2006). What do they want in life? The life goals of a multi-ethnic, multi-generational sample of high-school seniors. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35, 321-332.
  • Wrosch, C., Schulz, R. & Heckhausen, J. (2004). Health stresses and depressive symptomatology in the elderly: A control-process approach. Current Directions, 13, 17-20.
  • Heckhausen, J., & Farruggia, S. P. (2003). Developmental Regulation Across the Life Span: A Control-Theory Approach and Implications for Secondary Education. British Journal of Educational Psychology, Monograph Series II, Number 2 - Development and Motivation, 1, 85-102.
  • Boerner, K. & Heckhausen, J. (2003). To have and have not: Adaptive bereavement by transforming mental ties to the deceased. Death Studies, 27, 199-226.
  • Heckhausen, J., & Tomasik, M. (2002). Get an apprenticeship before school is out: How German adolescents adjust vocational aspirations when getting close to a developmental deadline. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 60, 199-219.
  • Wrosch, C., Schulz, R., & Heckhausen, J. (2002). Health stresses and depressive symptomatology in the elderly: The importance of health engagement control strategies. Health Psychology, 21, 340-348.
  • Wrosch, C., & Heckhausen, J. (2002). Perceived control of life regrets: Good for young and bad for old adults. Psychology and Aging, 17, 340-350.
  • Heckhausen, J., Wrosch, C., & Fleeson, W. (2001). Developmental regulation before and after a developmental deadline: The sample case of "biological clock" for child-bearing. Psychology and Aging, 16, 400-413.
  • Lang, F. R., & Heckhausen, J. (2001). Perceived control over development and subjective well-being: Differential benefits across adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 509 - 523.
  • Wrosch, C., Heckhausen, J., & Lachman, M. E.(2000). Primary and secondary control strategies for managing health and financial stress across adulthood. Psychology and Aging, 15, 387-399.
  • Heckhausen, J. (2000). Evolutionary perspectives on human motivation. American Behavioral Scientist, 43, 1015-1029.
  • Heckhausen, J. (Ed.). (2000). Motivational psychology of human development. Developing motivation and motivating development. Oxford, UK: Elsevier.
  • Heckhausen, J. (1999). Developmental regulation in adulthood: Age-normative and sociostructural constraints as adaptive challenges. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
  • Wrosch, C., & Heckhausen, J. (1999). Control processes before and after passing a developmental deadline: Activation and deactivation of intimate relationship goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 415-427.
  • Heckhausen, J., & Dweck, C. S. (Eds.). (1998). Motivation and self-regulation across the life span. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
  • Schulz, R., & Heckhausen, J. (1996). A life-span model of successful aging. American Psychologist, 51, 702-714.
  • Heckhausen, J., & Schulz, R. (1995). A life-span theory of control. Psychological Review, 102, 284-304.