Role of Health Locus of Control Beliefs and Expectations of Treatment Efficacy in Adjustment to Cancer

Gary Marks, Jean L. Richardson, John W. Graham, Alexandra Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations

Abstract

We examined the effects of health locus of control beliefs (self-, doctor, and chance control) and expectations of treatment efficacy on short-term psychological adjustment in a sample of newly diagnosed cancer patients. The role of these beliefs and expectations in moderating the relation between (perceived and actual) disease severity and depression was also examined. The data were collected within one week of diagnosis. The relation between perceptions of disease severity and depression was weaker for those who believed that they could personally control their health and for those who held positive expectations about the effects of complying with medical treatment. Similar patterns were found when disease severity was defined in terms of prognosis for survival. Strong negative correlations between self-control/treatment expectations and depression were found for those who perceived that their illness was very severe. The results for chance and doctor control were less consistent. The stability of health control beliefs and treatment expectations over the course of a serious long-term illness is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-450
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume51
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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