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  1. Christopher M. Lootens,
  2. Rosemery O. Nelson-Gray

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0839

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Lootens, C. M. and Nelson-Gray, R. O. 2010. Self-Monitoring. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Self-monitoring is the act of systematically observing and recording one's own target thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as they occur, usually in the natural environment. Having arisen primarily from the behavioral assessment tradition, self-monitoring is used extensively in clinical psychology and is considered an essential component of any self-control program (Bandura, 1977). It is also a practical technique, because alternative means of directly observing behavior are costly in terms of time, reactivity, and the need for trained observers. Bornstein, Hamilton, and Bornstein (1986) reported that self-monitoring is quite popular among clinicians as both an assessment tool and a therapeutic tool because it (1) emphasizes an individual's control over his or her behavior, (2) provides feedback about an individual's behavior in the absence of a clinician, (3) is portable and cost-efficient, (4) eliminates the undesirable bias often created by the presence of an external observer, and (5) allows a direct measure of target behaviors that are private by their very nature (e.g., thoughts) or by convention (e.g., sexual behavior).


  • observed behavior;
  • self-monitoring;
  • self-observation