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Keywords:

  • African Americans;
  • cancer;
  • health;
  • locus of control;
  • perceived health status;
  • self-esteem

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to describe and examine the relationships among self-esteem, locus of control, and perceived health status in African Americans with cancer and to identify predictors of perceived health status. A convenience sample of 95 oncology outpatients at two large medical facilities completed the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale, the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale, and the Cantril Ladder, a measurement of perceived health. In an audiotaped interview two open-ended questions were used to clarify participants' Cantril Ladder scores. A significant positive relationship was discovered between self-esteem and powerful others health locus of control (p < .05). Participants tended to view God as the Powerful Other capable of influencing their health and well-being. Self-esteem and an internal health locus of control were found to account for 23% of the perceived variance in health status. In addition, interview data indicated that participants with normal to high levels of self-esteem and an internal health locus of control perceived their state of health and well-being positively. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 25:371–382, 2002