Effects of attributional style and health locus of control on emotional support: young adult partnerships shaped by mental illness

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University of Alabama Libraries

The purpose of the research was to investigate the effects of both attributional style and health locus of control on emotional support within potential partnerships that are affected by mental illness. The research focused on the young adult population due to the prevalence of mental illness. Based on previous scholarship, the research posed two central research questions: How does the perceived controllability of a mental illness influence people's willingness to give emotional support to a partner living with a mental illness? How does the attribution of the mentally ill partner's actions affect the supporter partner's willingness to lend emotional support? Using an experimental design with participants (N=136) answering the established measures based on hypothetical scenarios, the research manipulated the mental disorder presented (i.e., Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse Disorder), and how the potential actions associated with the illness could be attributed (i.e., internal or external). Independent measures included health locus of control, attributional style, perceived controllability, and willingness to lend emotional support. The results suggested several important implications. Participants reported that the mental illnesses presented were moderately to highly controllable. The results also inferred that their willingness to lend emotional support is effected by the perceived controllability of the illness. Lastly, the research suggested that being able to attribute certain behaviors to the diagnosis is a factor in the participants' willingness to lend emotional support.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Social psychology, Experimental psychology, Speech Communication