Locus of control and psychological well-being


Some concepts already widespread in psychology interest us all. Concepts that clarify how we function and what leads us to do certain things and choices.


In this regard, we will talk about locus of control and how it can be: this very difference will highlight important aspects of which we are not always aware. 

The concept of the locus of control

You probably often hear about the concept of ” locus of control” because, despite being a concept born and used in the psychological field, it has been widely disseminated. The concept of locus of control has to do with what is the concept of responsibility towards what happens to us and what we implement. In fact, we often hear about how important it is to be responsible.

Responsible for your own actions and choices so that you feel confident in your abilities, but that isn’t always easy.


In fact, many people place their locus of control outside of themselves; it is not a conscious or conscious action but it takes place without awareness.


This, however, is closely related to how you live your life and also to your personal well-being. How are these aspects connected and connectable? This article will talk about just that.

Locus of control: what exactly is it about?

We will start with the definition of this concept. The locus of control is a concept that refers to a mechanism that is put in place when referring to the control of one’s life. It was theorized in 1954 by Rotter and is still a widely studied concept in psychology.


To explain it briefly, just think of what is believed to be the cause of what happens. For many people the cause of what they live is dictated by themselves and, therefore, by their actions . In this case, therefore, these people will have what is an “internal locus of control”, i.e. they believe that the responsibility for what happens lies within themselves.

For other people, on the other hand, what happens or happens is not dictated or is not a consequence of one’s actions or choices but it is something one experiences passively. For example, these people tend to think that the choices are not their own but it is fate or destiny that chooses for them. They also often feel that what happens is not their own choice but is more a consequence of something else. In this case, therefore, the locus of control is external .

Obviously this rather clear distinction is useful for understanding what locus of control actually is .


But it does not fully fit into what happens in everyday life. In fact, it is extremely difficult for anyone to have a 100% internal locus of control; the same goes for an external locus of control, which is 100% impossible to have.

Instead, what happens is that a person tends towards one of these two polarizations but then this concept acts differently on the basis of situations.

How locus of control affects our psychological well-being

Although it is not a phenomenon clearly present in all of us, a trend can certainly be observed. For example there are people who tend to react to every event as extraneous and to believe that it is always something that has happened in their life. Similarly there are people who tend to see every event as a consequence of their own behavior or action.

The concept of locus of control, however, also affects the psychological well-being of each of us. In fact, this phenomenon affects psychological well-being, the decisions that are made, how one feels and even thoughts.

The internal locus of control tends to lead to proactivity; we feel responsible for what happens and therefore we tend to act to make sure that everything goes as planned.

This, when excessive, can cause rigidity towards oneself and can also lead to an excessive sense of responsibility. We always feel guilty about what happens and especially when something bad happens. Obviously this also involves a negative feeling when you experience an unexpected event that is not healthy.

Conversely, an external locus of control leads to passivity as everything is seen as a choice of others that must be subjected to. This can also lead to and cause what is referred to as “ learned helplessness”. In this case, therefore, one has the conviction that one cannot actively act to change things and, therefore, one resigns oneself. All of this leads to a real immobilism that is not good for us and for our own well-being.

  • The locus of control and how it affects psychological well-being (


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