Parental perception and perceived locus of control in psychopathology



The intrusion of anxiety and disruption of ego functions seen in the more serious forms of psychopathology would seem incompatible with maintenance of an unimpaired sense of personal identity. The present study took the position that the psychiatric patient's fragile or poorly developed sense of his own identity would be reflected (a) in deficient or tenuous identifications with parental norms and values and (b) in the perception of less parental supportiveness and warmth, relative to nonpsychiatric patients, and (c) would lead the individual to perceive reinforcement as contingent primarily upon some external locus of control, rather than upon his own relatively enduring personal characteristics Support was obtained for (b) and (c), above, but not for (a).