Health locus of control of hospitalized Puerto Rican cancer patients and their attitudes toward nurses' non-procedural touch

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




The purpose of this study was to determine whether there was a relationship between Puerto Rican cancer patients' health locus of control and their attitude toward nurses' non-procedural touch. The sample was comprised of a hundred and sixty-four (164) Puerto Rican cancer patients in two oncology hospitals located in the northern and southern regions of the Island. Two questionnaires were administrated to participants: The Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale and the Scale to Measure Attitudes Toward Non-Procedural Touch. The data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. A level of significance p $\leq$.05 was established for this study. Sixty-two percent (62%) were over fifty years of age. The majority were married with an educational level less than high school. Most were Catholics. The most predominant diagnosis was gastrointestinal cancer, followed by breast cancer. The majority were hospitalized twice prior to the study, and were in their second or third day of hospitalization.The sample scored low on the MHLC scale and moderate in all subscales (internal, powerful other, and chance).The sample attitude toward non-procedural touch was moderate over all, positive on the emotional comfort and value of touch subscales, and moderate on the physical comfort subscale.Those scoring low on the MHLC scale scored negative on the attitude toward non-procedural touch. The more educated the sample was, the less the external scores were in relation to locus of control. Catholics were more external and had a more positive attitude toward non-procedural touch.Participants from the southern part of the Island had the most negative attitudes toward non-procedural touch.Based on the findings, the researcher concluded that because of the stressful experience the cancer patient confront, they turn inward and as a result develop an internal locus of control. Their attitude toward nurses' non-procedural touch is valued when the touch conveys emotional comfort.


Health Sciences, Nursing

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