Refinements in the measurement of health-specific locus-of-control beliefs

Richard R. Lau, John F. Ware

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A health-specific locus-of-control (HLC) questionnaire was constructed to measure beliefs about Self-Control Over Health, Provider Control Over Health, Chance Health Outcomes and General Health Threat. A factor analysis of items confirmed these dimensions, and corresponding scales were shown to be reliable. A factor analysis of HLC scales and other measures was used to evaluate construct validity. Persons believing in provider control over health outcomes tended to have strong favorable attitudes toward the quality of medical care. Chance Health Outcomes was associated with more general chance and controllability measures. General Health Threat seemed to tap susceptibility to disease and beliefs that doctors are unable to diagnose those diseases. People who believe in Self-Control Over Health tended to reject the role of chance and health threat in determining health outcomes and to believe in the efficacy of doctors, although they view them as inaccessible. Results are compared with those of previous studies, and some applications of the questionnaire are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1147-1158
Number of pages12
JournalMedical care
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1981
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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