An Exploration of Locus of Control: The Mediating Effect of Locus of Control Among Victims of Sexual Trauma.

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Locus of control has been associated with health outcomes (Donham et al., 1983; Holder & Levi, 1988) as well as interactions with the health care field (Christensen et al., 1996) and has independently predicted health outcomes among victims of sexual trauma (Simoni & Ng, 2002). As such, it may help to explain adverse health outcomes associated with sexual trauma. The current study sought to examine the potential mediating factor that an individual’s locus of control may have on the relationship between history of sexual trauma and health outcomes/health care interactions. Locus of control was measured via the Levenson Locus of Control Scales (Levenson, 1981) which divides locus of control into three subscales: internal locus of control, powerful others, and chance. Among a sample of women aged 18-50 years old (N = 753), an internal locus of control significantly mediated the relationship between sexual trauma and health outcomes (somatic symptoms, self-rated health, depression, and anxiety) as well as the relationship between sexual trauma and health care interactions (an individual’s level of medical mistrust and medical nonadherence). While each external locus of control scale did significantly predict outcomes, they were not significant mediators. Findings indicate the importance of internal locus of control in understanding sexual trauma’s effect on health outcomes.


Boston, MA

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