Concept Name: Locus of Control and Stress. Free Essay

Published: 2023-02-27
Concept Name: Locus of Control and Stress. Free Essay
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Stress Mental health Human behavior Emotional intelligence
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1226 words
11 min read

Terms associated with the concept: Stress, stressors, family, coping, internal locus of control, external locus of control, self-monitoring, social reinforcement, social support, and self-contracting.

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Concept definition:

The perception of the amount of control people have on the circumstances and events that occur in their lives is one of the major components leading to psychological distress. Numerous events occur in life that individuals have no control of, for instance, road traffic or the loss of a loved one. Therefore, the way people choose to react to a situation is the one constant means of control they have no matter how terrible circumstances may be. The locus of control is a central theme concerning dealing with stress. Jerrold Greenberg defines the locus of control as the belief system individuals have concerning their experiences and the factors that they attribute to success or failure. In other words, the locus of control is the perception of the amount of control that individuals have over the circumstances or events that affect their lives (Greenberg 260). However, the locus of control can be specific to certain experiences in life. There are two principal categories of locus of control, namely internal and external.

Individuals who possess an internal locus of control perceive or believe that they have control over the circumstances that affect their lives. As a result, a person who has an internal locus of control attributes success to personal skills, efforts, and abilities. Such individuals are aware of stressors and they implement measures to cope with stress. According to studies, people with a strong internal locus of control take responsibility for the nature in which they react to events and stress. With this note, these individuals are highly likely to achieve improved health and happiness. On the other hand, people with an external locus of control perceive that they have no control over situations they face. As such, they believe that they are at the mercy of outside forces and events. Greenberg stipulates that "externals" may lag concerning taking charge of their lives since they believe that their actions would be fruitless contributing to increased stress (130). Furthermore, since life is subject to stressors that people cannot seem to cope or change to situations; people with a strong external locus of control tend to stagnate when faced with unpredictable life events. They become overwhelmed by anxiety and the loss of control makes them stressed and feel helpless.

Application #1

I have experienced firsthand the concept of locus of control and stress in my family. At one point in life, while I was young, my uncle was a heavy alcoholic. He was addicted to alcohol and his behavior was a source of STRESS to his family. In particular, his alcoholic behavior distressed our entire family because during reunions, every family member was concerned and alcoholic beverages were discouraged. After a heavy drinking spree, my uncle would end up emotionally distressed because he could not understand how his lack of control failed him. He could argue that he went to the bar with his friends after work and that he was unable to regulate the frequency of bar visits. He showcased attributes of EXTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL. As a result, his stressful life experiences were caused by factors outside his control. Sometimes, he attributed the drinking to the toxic work environment. The inability to quit alcohol led to the feeling of helplessness and anxiety. Therefore, my parents advised my uncle to seek counseling. He was advised that SELF-MONITORING is important in creating behavioral awareness. Self-monitoring allows individuals to compare their behaviors at the time of implementing a behavioral change program (Greenberg 261). It is a benchmark upon which individuals manage their progress and reinforce their COPING behavior about stressful life events. The self-monitoring process created an opportunity for my uncle to observe and record his behavior toward better health and happiness.

To foster behavioral change, my uncle was advised to visit alcoholic anonymous meetings to share experiences and personal struggles. Alcoholic anonymous meetings provided SOCIAL REINFORCEMENT to encourage my uncle to overcome his alcoholism challenge. The support my uncle received helped him to form a locus of control that perceived he had control over alcoholism. A personal desire to change and lead a better lifestyle that was fulfilling without being stuck believing he could not control external factors. As such, my uncle was empowered in the sense that he had the authority to say no to alcohol or friends who negatively influenced him. Therefore, the locus of control is fundamental while dealing with stressors and how to cope and avoid leading a helpless life full of detrimental and anxious thoughts.

Application #2

I have always had the desire to academically achieve excellence and make my parents proud of me. Nevertheless, the undying pursuit of academic success was because I would want to have a bright future. However, I felt it was becoming a heavy load that I could not manage because I did not have time to play or socially interact with friends. Instead of improving my performance in scientific subjects such as math, I was failing and I became extremely stressed. I was ridiculed by my classmates that I was a bookworm yet I underperformed. Such sentiments started messing with the self-esteem that I became more reserved and spent most of my free time indoors. Video games became my source of comfort that it became hard to abandon my new-found hobby. It did not augur well with my school performances that my parents were concerned. Their intervention made me realize that I was socialized to be independent in the sense that I had an INTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL. My parents had nurtured me to be a person who could take control of life events and alter the outcomes. I explained to my parents that I had become addicted to video games and I wanted to change and alter the story of my life. I took charge of my behavior and learned that FAMILY is a great source for SOCIAL SUPPORT especially while dealing with stressful life events. Social support helps to reduce stress both directly and indirectly. My family paved a way for me to cope with stress and manage it to achieve my academic goals and objectives in high school.

Therefore, I resolved to SELF-CONTRACTING in the sense that I was to reward myself for best behavior. I eliminated negative thoughts and learned to manage my time wisely. Also, I came into agreement with my parents that I would not let them down and that I would do my best to improve my grades. The contract gave me closure and I set my focus on the things I needed to improve. Therefore, I tailored a program for efficient time management that I created time for play and hanging with friends and relatives. The inward resolve of having control over my life helped me to ultimately put the effort into the subjects that I poorly performed to eradicate the stress associated with poor academic performance.

Conclusively, locus of control is fundamental particularly while dealing with stress. Adopting behaviors that boost internal locus of control are essential because they help in coping and relieving stress. It helps to promote improved self-esteem and leading better health. Locus of control is, thus, a good strategy to reduce stressful behavior.

Author of Concept: Greenberg, Jerrold S. Comprehensive Stress Management. McGraw-Hill Education, 2017.

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