What is “Locus of Control”?

Developed by Julian B. Rotter in 1954, locus of control is defined as:

“a person’s perceived control over his or her own behaviour.”

Those with an internal locus of control have a belief they can control what happens in their life and those with an external locus of control believe they are powerless to control outside factors.

What is most important though is that it is not fixed and can be changed.

This is especially important in pain management and self care as it has been shown in recent research* that those with a higher internal locus of control at pre-treatment had a greater reduction in pain intensity from pre- to post treatment. Conversely, those with an external locus of control experienced no significant effects. 

Hence, believing in having control over your health appears to be helpful when undergoing a chronic pain treatment. This is why self care – to control the controllables – can be so effective for a positive treatment outcome. 

Buddha head and quote for sharing

If your locus of control isn’t as ‘internal’ as you’d like it to be, there are things you can do to change your locus of control and empower yourself.

Here’s a process to help you practice developing an internal locus of control.

If you are suffering with pain we can work with your self care through consultation and development of a customised treatment plan to educate, set goals, review and guide you through to get results.

*(Zuercher-Huerlimann, Elian et al. 2019)