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Internal-external locus of control and its relationship to self-reported depression and to suicide Kendrick, Margaret Joan

Abstract

The present study attempted to assess the relationship between locus of control and suicide, and between locus of control and self-reported depression. It was hypothesized that: (a) suicidants' scores on the locus of control measures would be more external than scores of non-suicidal non-psychiatric persons and that (b) measures of external locus of control would correlate positively with depression. Five locus of control scales (as developed by Rotter, Levenson, and Kendrick) and the Beck Depression Inventory were administered to the sample consisting of four groups of 12 subjects each. There were two experimental groups of suicidants (hospitalized and non-hospitalized) and two control groups (hospitalized and non-hospitalized) without histories of suicidal behavior. A two-way between groups analysis of variance was computed in order to assess the relationship between suicide and locus of control, the effects of hospitalization on locus of control, and the suicide by hospital interaction. The impact of these variables on a measure of self-reported depression was also assessed. Correlations were used to assess the relationship between depression and locus of control. Only minimal support was offered for the hypothesis that suicidants are more externally controlled than non-suicidal non-psychiatric persons. As predicted, depression was positively correlated with external locus of control. Possible explanations for these results were discussed and recommendations for further research in the area were made. Attention was also given to the implications of the present study for the prediction of suicide and depression and for psychotherapy with suicidal and depressed persons.

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