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What are some examples of an external locus of control?

It exists an abundance of researches which have identified the role of the locus of control in maintaining sound mental health and adjustment. Locus of control refers to the extent to which people believe they have power over events in their lives. Your locus of control can influence not only how you respond to the events that happen in your life, but also your motivation to take action.

A person with an internal locus of control believes that he or she can influence events and their outcomes, while someone with an external locus of control blames outside forces for everything. Internal locus of control helps individuals in maintaining good mental health and also plays a key role in helping them adjust well to the surrounding environment. Individuals with an internal locus of control compared to those with an external locus of control are more likely to actively use coping strategies focused on solving problems.

Individuals with an external locus of control are less likely to self-regulate, are less likely to make the effort to learn since they don’t think it will make a difference, and often experience anxiety.

Individuals with an external locus of control believe:

  • they have no control over what happens and that external variables are to blame;

  • their own actions are a result of external factors, such as fate, luck, circumstance, injustice, bias, or people who are unfair, prejudiced, or unskilled;

  • they feel under the influence of powerful others such as God, doctors, the police, or government officials, nature, etc., and

  • think that the world is too complex for them to predict or successfully control its outcomes. They can hardly get hold accountable.

Those with an external locus of control are much more likely to be religious than those who have an internal locus of control. They often believe that God has a plan for their lives and when bad things happen to them, they are likely to attribute these happenings to God’s plan or fate. They are often very superstitious and believe in ghosts, spirits, and negative forces.

An extreme example is the person that blames everyone and everything and never considers their part in the responsibility. pwBPD (person with Borderline personality disorder) and pwNPD (person with Narcissistic personality disorder) most often have an external locus of control.


  • a person that gets fired and explains it by saying that the boss was envious and is an idiot.

  • an individual comes back home after having fights with the partner and having offended him/her badly; the partner is gone and the individual explains it saying that the partner must be having an affair.

  • a person’s child has an accident and the parent explains it by saying that God is punishing them for having had an abortion.

People with an external locus of control have more mental disorders compared with those with an internal locus of control.

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