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Abstract

Two personality constructs, desire for control and locus of control, were related to depression among college students. Measures of levels of depression, desire for control, and locus of control were taken from subjects. Approximately six months later 71% of these subjects returned a questionnaire concerning their experiences with depression during that six-month period. It was found that locus of control scores, particularly the extent to which subjects perceived that their lives were controlled by chance, were significantly related to the depression levels. It was also found that high desire for control subjects who held external perceptions of control were most likely to seek nonprofessional help for depression. In addition, high desire for control subjects who perceived their lives as generally controlled by chance were most likely to have suicidal thoughts. The results are interpreted in terms of a general style that may promote a proneness to depression for certain individuals.