Locus of Control Less Associated with Anxiety in Collective Societies

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Locus of Control (LOC), a measure of the degree to which one perceives control of one’s life to be internally- vs. externally-determined, was reviewed in 33,224 adults across 18 cultural regions in literature spanning 40 years. Researchers found that the relationship between LOC and psychological symptoms differed between cultures with distinct individualistic vs. collectivist orientations. The the study found that the link between external LOC and and anxiety was weaker in collectivist societies, and notes that external LOC does not carry the same negative connotations in these cultures. The study was released online on May 31, 2012 by Psychological Bulletin.

Abstract → 

Cheng, C. Cheung, S.F. Chio, J.H. Chan, M.P; “Cultural Meaning of Perceived Control: A Meta-Analysis of Locus of Control and Psychological Symptoms Across 18 Cultural Regions” Psychological Bulletin, released online May 28, 2012

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]