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Tracing criteria of successful aging? Health locus of control and well-being in older patients with internal diseases

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To identify differences and similarities in health locus of control (HLC) and well-being between internistic patients, recently diagnosed cancer patients and healthy controls, we examined 110 patients with internal diseases, 196 cancer patients and 80 healthy controls aged 60+ years. HLC was assessed with the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scales (MHLC), well-being with the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule. Patients with internal diseases scored highest on internal HLC. Scores on social externalism and fatalism MHCL-subscales of internistic patients were similar to cancer patients. Both patient samples reported reduced positive affect. Higher levels of education, more social support, higher self-esteem, internal HLC and daily functioning predicted positive affect in the total sample. In addition, an interaction effect of internal locus of control and daily functioning was found in cancer patients. There were no group-specific predictors of positive affect. Results suggest that high internal HLC is associated with positive affect in each of the three samples. However, an internal HLC only contributes to positive affect in cancer patients when they are in sufficient physical condition to exert control over their health.
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Keywords: cancer; internal diseases; internal health locus of control; positive affect

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Technische Universitaet of Dresden, Germany 2: Department of Psychology, Philipps University, Marburg, Germany

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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