Health Promotion, Health Locus of Control, and Health Behavior: Two Field Experiments

Marilyn Jacobs Quadrel, Richard R. Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In spite of a sizable body of research on the effects of information promotions on health knowledge and health behavior, relatively little is known about how such efforts affect change (or why they do not). This paper addresses that problem by exploring the particular role that health locus of control (HLC) beliefs play in individual responses to health promotion efforts aimed at encouraging preventive health behaviors. Two field experiments are presented. The first experiment examined the extent to which HLC beliefs are related to differences in individual levels of health knowledge following the distribution of an informational booklet on health. Internals high on health value who received the information booklet demonstrated greater health knowledge three months later than did other subjects, although this difference was greater among men than among women. The second experiment explored how HLC beliefs interact with differently framed “control” messages to promote behavior change in breast self‐examination (BSE). HLC beliefs interacted with the control language of the BSE promotional message and a neutral reminder to affect subsequent BSE practice. Together, these studies suggest a more influential role for health locus of control beliefs in shaping responses to health messages than has previously been documented in field settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1497-1519
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number18
StatePublished - Dec 1989
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Health Promotion, Health Locus of Control, and Health Behavior: Two Field Experiments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this