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J Trauma Stress. 2009 Jun;22(3):189-96. doi: 10.1002/jts.20411.

Locus of control and psychopathology in relation to levels of trauma and loss: self-reports of Peloponnesian wildfire survivors.

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Department of Psychology, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens, Greece.


This study investigated whether relations between beliefs about the personal controllability of reinforcing events and levels of psychopathology were differentiated with respect to levels of trauma and loss experienced in a series of devastating wildfires. In contrast with studies of combat veterans and professional firefighters, in wildfire survivors external locus of control beliefs and psychopathology were correlated only in respondents who experienced higher levels of trauma and loss; specifically, for residents of designated disaster areas (N = 409), but not for a demographically matched sample of residents of adjacent, non-fire-damaged areas (N = 391). The conflicting findings across studies are interpreted with respect to probable differences in contingencies of reinforcement for causal attributions in professionals and in novices in disaster management.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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