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Health Locus of Control

  • By: Theodore A. Avtgis
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Health locus of control is a contextualized application of the larger personality trait locus of control (LOC). LOC was developed by psychologist Julian Rotter and has been a valuable construct in the explanation of communicative behavior. It is defined as the degree to which people attribute outcomes as being a result of their own purposive behavior or to forces outside of their control. When individuals attribute outcomes as being due to their own behavior it is known as an internal locus of control. However, if individuals attribute outcomes to forces outside themselves such as chance, luck, or fate, then they are reflecting an external locus of control. Rotter conceptualized LOC from social learning theory in that both elements of the organism and the environment are ...

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