Chronic illness has negative impacts beyond those on physical health. In particular, because it is often experienced as uncontrollable, chronic illness might reduce people’s general sense of personal control and, subsequently, personal well-being. Drawing on recent theory and research, we proposed and tested in four experiments (N
total = 1323) a potential buffer to these negative effects: thinking about an agentic social ingroup in one’s life. In Study 1, patients suffering from a chronic illness that was either high or low in medical disease controllability were asked either to think about an agentic ingroup or a personal issue. Low perceived disease-related control was associated with low perceived personal control only when participants’ personal self, but not when their ingroup, was salient. In three follow-up vignette studies, we asked participants to take the perspective of a person who suffered from a health problem of low medical disease controllability and attended a self-help group that was described as either high or low in agency. The findings supported the predicted buffering effect: participants who reflected on a target suffering from a low control disease thought that the target would experience more personal control when the agentic (vs. the nonagentic) self-help group was salient. These findings suggest ingroups can serve as a source of personal control in the context of health-related threats to the extent that they are perceived as agentic. Thus, focusing on agentic properties of (health-related) ingroups might be a promising novel strategy when designing effective group-based interventions to cope with chronic illness.