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Concept: Locus of control


Health locus of control refers to the belief that health is in one’s control (internal control) or is not in one’s control (external control). Among adults, external locus of control is associated with negative health outcomes, whereas internal locus of control is associated with favorable outcomes. Few studies examined these associations among youths. The objective of our study was to determine how locus of control relates to health care use, medication adherence, missed school, and readiness for transition to adult medical care for youths with chronic conditions.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Personal life, Social psychology, Locus of control


Abstract Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) is a traditional Chinese medicine practice and martial art with biopsychosocial aspects. This study aimed to examine the impact of participation in TCC on multiple domains of Quality of Life (QoL) and to assess the involvement of the psychological factors of self-efficacy, Locus of Control (LoC) and Hope in these effects. A total of 68 participants from the general community (13 males and 55 females) aged between 18 and 68 (M=43.55 years) and not currently suffering from a mental or physical illness took part in the study. It was found that TCC participants, as a group, scored significantly better than those in sedentary (book club) and active (gym exercise) control conditions on Psychological and Physical QoL, and that the Physical QoL benefits of TCC continue to accrue with years of practice. The three psychological factors were shown to variously mediate (self-efficacy) and moderate (internal LoC and Hope) this latter relationship. Whilst the results bear limitations (in particular small sample sizes), it is hoped that these findings will encourage further research into TCC, and consideration of TCC as part of the range of treatment options available in community-based mental and physical health management.

Concepts: Health, Sample size, Personal life, Traditional Chinese medicine, Qi, Locus of control, Qigong, Tai chi chuan


Diagnosis threat has been shown to produce detrimental effects on neuropsychological performance in individuals with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Focusing on contact-sport players who are at great risk of mTBI, our study was designed to examine the moderating role of internal locus of control. Specifically, we predicted that following diagnosis threat (reminder of their risk of sustaining mTBI and of its consequences), low-internal contact-sport players would underperform (assimilation to the stereotype), while their high-internal counterparts would outperform (contrast effect). We predicted that effort and anxiety would mediate these effects.

Concepts: Traumatic brain injury, Social psychology, Locus of control, Cognitive biases


Twenty-five to sixty percent of physicians report burnout across all specialties. Changes in the healthcare environment have created marked and growing external pressures. In addition, physicians are predisposed to burnout due to internal traits such as compulsiveness, guilt, and self-denial, and a medical culture that emphasizes perfectionism, denial of personal vulnerability, and delayed gratification. Professional coaching, long utilized in the business world, provides a results-oriented and stigma-free method to address burnout, primarily by increasing one’s internal locus of control. Coaching enhances self-awareness, drawing on individual strengths, questioning self-defeating thoughts and beliefs, examining new perspectives, and aligning personal values with professional duties. Coaching utilizes established techniques to increase one’s sense of accomplishment, purpose, and engagement, all critical in ameliorating burnout. Coaching presumes that the client already possesses strengths and skills to handle life’s challenges, but is not accessing them maximally. Although an evidence base is not yet established, the theoretical basis of coaching’s efficacy derives from the fields of positive psychology, mindfulness, and self-determination theory. Using a case example, this article demonstrates the potential of professional coaching to address physician burnout.

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Medicine, Motivation, Self-efficacy, Social psychology, Locus of control


Indigenous people worldwide suffer from higher rates of morbidity and mortality than neighboring populations. In addition to having limited access to public health infrastructure, indigenous people may also have priorities and health perceptions that deter them from seeking adequate modern healthcare. Here we propose that living in a harsh and unpredictable environment reduces motivation to pursue deliberate, costly action to improve health outcomes. We assess whether variation in Health Locus of Control (HLC), a psychological construct designed to capture self-efficacy with respect to health, explains variation in treatment uptake behavior among Tsimane Amerindians (N = 690; age range: 40-89 years; 55.8% female; data collection: 2008-2012), a high mortality and morbidity indigenous population in the Bolivian Amazon, Beni Department. Comparisons with two industrialized populations in Japan (Miyagi prefecture; e0 = 76.6 years) and the United Kingdom (Caerphilly county borough; e0 = 81.2 years) confirm that Tsimane (e0 = 54.1 years) have a more externalized HLC. Multilevel level models were used to investigate whether HLC predicts treatment uptake, and mediates the relationship between modernization and treatment uptake. External HLC scores were predictive of treatment outcomes: Powerful others scores were positively associated with probability of receiving modern treatment (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.33), while Chance scores were negatively associated with probability of receiving modern treatment (adjusted OR = 0.76). We found no effects, however, of Internal HLC or educational capital on treatment uptake. Overall, our findings indicate that health-related decision-making is influenced more by a psychological orientation affecting self-efficacy, shaped in part by perceptions of environmental unpredictability and harshness, than by limited knowledge, education or other indicators of modernization.

Concepts: Psychology, Epidemiology, Demography, Motivation, Bolivia, Indigenous peoples, Locus of control, Indigenous peoples of the Americas


Current health policies emphasize the need for an equitable doctor-patient relationship, and this requires a certain level of patient empowerment. However, a systematic review of the empirical evidence on how empowerment affects medication adherence-the extent to which patients follow the physician’s prescription of medication intake-is still missing. The goal of this systematic review is to sum up current state-of-the-art knowledge concerning the relationship between patient empowerment and medication adherence across medical conditions. As our conceptualization defines health locus of control and self-efficacy as being crucial components of empowerment, we explored the relationship between these two constructs and medication adherence.

Concepts: Medicine, Medical terms, Patient, Physician, Doctor-patient relationship, Motivation, Self-efficacy, Locus of control


Objectives. We identified predictors of emergency department (ED) use among a population-based prospective cohort of homeless adults in Toronto, Ontario. Methods. We assessed ED visit rates using administrative data from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (2005-2009). We then used logistic regression to identify predictors of ED use. Frequent users were defined as participants with rates in the top decile (≥ 4.7 visits per person-year). Results. Among 1165 homeless adults, 892 (77%) had at least 1 ED visit during the study. The average rate of ED visits was 2.0 visits per person-year, whereas frequent users averaged 12.1 visits per person-year. Frequent users accounted for 10% of the sample but contributed more than 60% of visits. Predictors of frequent use in adjusted analyses included birth in Canada, higher monthly income, lower health status, perceived unmet mental health needs, and perceived external health locus of control from powerful others; being accompanied by a partner or dependent children had a protective effect on frequent use. Conclusions. Among homeless adults with universal health insurance, a small subgroup accounted for the majority of visits to emergency services. Frequent use was driven by multiple predisposing, enabling, and need factors. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print October 22, 2013: e1-e9. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301397).

Concepts: Health care, Psychology, Health economics, Healthcare reform, Public health, Health, Clinical trial, Locus of control


To develop a model of the psychological factors which predict people’s intention to adopt personalised nutrition. Potential determinants of adoption included perceived risk and benefit, perceived self-efficacy, internal locus of control and health commitment.

Concepts: Motivation, Personal life, Self-efficacy, Social psychology, Locus of control


In China, the number of college students using mobile phone based messaging and social networking applications like WeChat is increasing rapidly. However, there has been minimal research into the addictive nature of these applications and the psychological characteristics associate with their excessive use. There is also no published scale available for assessing excessive use of WeChat and similar applications. In the current study, we collected data from 1,245 college students in China (715 females) and developed the WeChat Excessive Use Scale (WEUS). We then assessed the relationship between excessive use of WeChat and excessive use of a social networking application-Weibo, problematic use of mobile phones, external locus of control, and social interaction skills. Our 10-item scale featured three factors, namely- “mood modification,” “salience” and “conflict”- critical factors in assessing different forms of addiction. The WEUS was found to be a reliable instrument in assessing excessive use of WeChat as it showed good internal consistency and correlated with other measures of problematic use social networking and mobile phone addiction. Our results showed that excessive users of WeChat are more likely to excessively use Weibo than they are to problematically use mobile phones. Our study also showed that greater excessive use of WeChat is associated with higher external locus of control and greater online social interaction skills. These results reveal that WeChat has unique and strong appeal among college students in China. Further, practitioners should consider dealing with malleable factors like locus of control and real life social skills in treating people with problematic messaging and social networking.

Concepts: Motivation, Mobile phone, Internet, Rotary dial, Push-button telephone, Locus of control


An individual’s own experiences of childhood and being parented are likely to be key determinants of their later parenting experiences. Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is arguably the most toxic experience to occur in childhood and therefore may be particularly likely to impact on parenting stress in the context of parenting one’s own children. This paper aims to review studies investigating associations between earlier CSA and later parenting to determine the size and consistency of the effects, identify any mediators and moderators of the relationship, and assess the quality of the evidence base. PsycINFO, Academic Search Complete, CINAHL, MEDLINE, Web of Science, PubMed and PILOTS were searched from date of inception until 4th March 2016 and 14 studies met the inclusion criteria. Seven studies indicated a degree of direct association between experiencing CSA and later parenting stress, two studies found no association and five studies suggest that other variables such as locus of control and current stressors may affect the relationship between CSA and parenting stress. Additionally, 10 studies suggest an indirect relationship between CSA and parenting stress through current level of depression. Results suggest the existence of a relationship between CSA and parenting stress though this association is mostly mediated by other variables, including depression and other stressors. Clearer definitions of CSA and use of validated questionnaires are essential to progress this field of research.

Concepts: Evidence-based medicine, Systematic review, The Association, Experience, Child abuse, Locus of control, 2016