Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Shelton Hendricks

Second Advisor

Richard Wikoff

Third Advisor

Wayne Harrison


Locus of control is a cognitive construct that can be quantified and used in conjunction with other social learning theory variables to predict human social behavior. Previous research suggests that when a person perceives rewards and punishments as being contingent upon personal actions, (i.e. they possess an internal locus of control) behavior is quite different compared to when such reinforcements are perceived to occur independently of personal efforts and characteristics.

Pain is one of many areas in which there has been a significant amount of interest in relating locus of control health beliefs to a variety of relevant behaviors. Whether knowledge of pain locus of control will further understanding of how often people use learned intervention strategies to manage their pain in order to maintain therapeutic intervention standards to which they have been exposed at a specific pain management facility was the focus of the present study.

Instruments used in this study were the Pain Locus of Control Scale (PLOC), the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), an Interference Scale (INTF), and a Scale of Value and Usefulness (SOVU) developed by the principal

investigator. It was hypothesized that there would be a significant correlation between those classified as High Internals on the PLOC and the activities posited in the SOVU. However, such correlations were not supported by the research. It was also hypothesized that those who scored as High Internals would show greater decrease in level of pain (as measured by the VAS) and level of pain interference (as measured by the INTF) between pre- and post-tests. These decreases did occur in this sample. An exploratory regression analysis revealed that a Powerful Others orientation and age were the best predictors of the VAS and that a Powerful Others orientation was the best predictor of the INTF. Limitations were discussed and further research directions were posited.

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