African Americans with cancer: The relationships among self-esteem, locus of control, and health perception

Authors

  • Jean E. Swinney*

    Corresponding author
    1. Community Health, University of Massachusetts, School of Nursing, 217 Arnold House, Amherst, MA 01003
    • Community Health, University of Massachusetts, School of Nursing, 217 Arnold House, Amherst, MA 01003.
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    • Assistant Professor


  • I thank Dr. May Dobal for her continued support and guidance and Ms. Claire Baldwin for editorial assistance.

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

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