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Health Locus of Control (HLC) is the degree to which individuals believe that their health is controlled by internal or external Factors.

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Health Locus Of Control 1. Name of Theory: Health Locus of Control 2. Originators and Professional Background: Kenneth A. Wallston, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Psychology, School of Nursing, Vanderbilt University. Barbara S. Wallston. Ph.D., was Associate Professor and Chair of Psychology at George Peabody College. Gordon D. Kaplan. Ph.D. and Shirley A. Maides. Ph.D. were co-developers of the unidimensional health locus of control, at Vanderbilt University. 3. Approximate Year of Origin: In 1976, the first health related locus of control measure was developed by Wallston, Wallston, Kaplan and Maides. 4. Theory Development: The construct of Health Locus of Control was derived from the Social Learning Theory developed by Rotter in 1966. The Social Learning Theory states that an individual learns on the basis of his of her history of reinforcement. The individual will develop general and specific expectancies. Through a learning process individuals will develop the belief that certain outcomes are a result of their action (internals) or a result of other forces independent of themselves (externals). From the social learning theory Rotter developed the Locus of Control Construct, consisting of an Internal External rating scale. Wallston, Wallston, Kaplan and Maides recognized that there was difficulty in predicting health behavior specifically from generalized expectancy measures such as Rotter's I-E scale. ...read more.


The Health Locus of Control scale was developed as a unidimensional measure of people's beliefs that their health is or is not determined by their own behavior. Increasing numbers of investigators are turning to the health locus of control measure as the preferred alternative for studying health and sick-role behaviors. Using health locus of control scales to measure health related locus of control is used to evaluate health education program success. For evaluative purposes, changes in beliefs or expectancies are only relevant if accompanied by desired behavioral change. Expectancy data, such as provided by health locus of control scales, will add to the understanding of the change or lack of change in behaviors. The Health Locus of Control scale is recommended in conjunction with behavioral measures to evaluate health education programs. Since it is true that internal's appear more likely to engage in positive health and sick-role behaviors, it is apparent that the Health Locus of Control emphasizes the importance of the health educators need to involve themselves in training patients to hold more internal beliefs. Thus many health education programs, which do not label themselves as internality training, still emphasize patient responsibility and internal beliefs. ...read more.


Chance HLC (CHLC) measures the extent to which one believes that health illness is a matter of fate. luck or chance. 7. Key Terms: Social Learning Theory - the potential for behavior to occur in any specific psychological situation is a function of the expectancy that the behavior will lead to a particular reinforcement in that situation and the value of that reinforcement Health Locus of Control - degree to which individuals believe that their health is controlled by internal or external factors External - belief that one's outcome is under the control of powerful others or is determined by fate, luck or chance Internal - belief that ones outcome is directly the result of ones behavior 8. References: Lau, R.R. (1982). Origins of health locus of control beliefs. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 42. (2). 322-334. Wallston, B.S., & Wallston. K.A. (1978). Locus of control and health: A review of the literature. Health Education Monographs, Spring, 107-117. Wallston, K.A., & Wallston. B.S. 1981). Health locus of control scales. In H. Lefcourt (Ed.). Research with the locus of control construct: Vol.1 (pp.189-243). New York. NY: Academic Press. Wallston, K.A., Wallston B.S., & DeVellis, R. (1978). Development of the multidimensional health locus of control (MHLC) scales. Health Education Monographs, 6(2). 160-170. ...read more.

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