JOURNAL ARTICLE

Economic stress and lack of internal health locus of control: a life course approach

Martin Lindström, Maria Rosvall
Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 2014, 42 (1): 74-81
24026355

AIMS: To investigate associations between economic stress in childhood and adulthood, and lack of internal health locus of control (HLC), testing the accumulation and critical period life course hypotheses.

METHODS: A cross-sectional public health (postal) survey was conducted in Skåne in 2008, based on a random sample with 28,198 participants in the age interval 18-80 years, with 55% participation. Logistic regressions analyzed associations between childhood and current economic stress, and lack of internal HLC.

RESULTS: A 33.7% prevalence of men and 31.8% of women lack internal HLC, which was significantly associated with the covariates included. The accumulation hypothesis was partly supported because combined childhood and adulthood economic stress exposures were significantly associated with lack of internal HLC in a graded manner. The critical period hypothesis was not supported since the association between economic stress in childhood and lack of internal HLC was partly significant in the final model, and the association with adult (current) economic stress was also significant.

CONCLUSIONS: The accumulation hypothesis was partly supported. The critical period hypothesis was not supported since both childhood and current economic stress experience were significantly associated with lack of internal HLC. Economic conditions in childhood as well as adulthood are plausibly of relevance for HLC.

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