A comparison of the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control and HIV Specific Health Locus of Control scales: Contributions to theory and practice

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Rick Zimmerman - Committee Chair


As part of a larger sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy prevention intervention for tenth grade students, two scales related to locus of control were compared. The established Multidimensional Health Locus of Control (MHLC) Scale was compared to the newly constructed HIV Specific Health Locus of Control (HHLC) Scale. The amount of variance explained by the set of HHLC Scales over that explained by the set of MHLC Scales, and vice versa, in sexual behavior, HIV knowledge, self-efficacy at sexual communication, and self-efficacy at condom use by these scales was compared.The HHLC Scale accounted for more of the variance in HIV knowledge and self-efficacy at sexual communication than the MHLC. Typologies constructed on the basis of the scale scores, in combination with the high or low value placed on not getting HIV, were not related to changes in HIV knowledge, self-efficacy at sexual communication or self-efficacy at condom use. Finally, scores on the School/Community dimension of the HHLC Scale changed as predicted for those in the intervention group as compared to those in the comparison group.The findings lead to three general conclusions. First, specific locus of control scales explained more of the variance in two of the variables than the general locus of control scales. Second, the interaction of HHLC Scale type and HIV Value interaction was not predictive of change in several variables, perhaps due to the low variance of the HIV Value scores. Third, locus of control appears to be dynamic, rather than stable. Finally, research needs to be conducted which improves on the measures utilized in this study.


Psychology, Social; Health Sciences, Public Health; Sociology, General

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