Mediation of detention trauma via perceived locus of control
Perkel, Adrian K.
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Political detention in South Africa has been documented to contain conditions inherently detrimental to psychological health. Reports indicate high levels of stress reponses associated with conditions of solitary confinement, and physical and psychological abuse — particularly in the form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Amongst the moderating variables that may mediate between detention stress and post-detention trauma is perceived locus of control. In the present study the author aimed to determine post-detention sequelae and the moderating influence of perceived locus of control in this specific context. A Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder scale was combined with an Index of Well-being scale and correlated with a Detention Locus of Control scale to assess mediation significance of experienced ‘traumatization’. Results indicated a positive correlation with those who are internal in their perceived locus of control suffering reduced post-stress sequelae, compared to those who are more externally oriented. Implications and limitations of the study are discussed with specific reference to therapeutic intervention in the clinical context. © 1990, South African Psychological Association and the Psychological Institute of the Republic of South Africa. All rights reserved.