The present study attempts to examine the mental health locus of control (LOC) of refugees with clinically diagnosed psychopathology and to examine the possible association of LOC with the presentation of the psychopathology. LOC refers to the degree to which a person attributes what happens in their life to themselves or to external factors. It draws its theoretical background from Rotter's theory of social learning. External LOC has been linked to psychopathology in anxiety disorders (AD), depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), of which migrants are primarily at risk in comparison to the indigenous population. This is a descriptive cross-sectional study. The study involved 40 refugees who were referred to the psychiatric office, by the psychologists of a non-governmental organization, due to clinically established psychopathology. In the first session, the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire-5 (HTQ5) were administered, according to the score of which the psychologists' referral diagnoses were confirmed. To assess the LOC the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Questionnaire (MHLC) was administered, which measures LOC in self, significant others, and luck. The questionnaires were administered in English, Farsi, and Lingala. We translated the MHLC questionnaire to Lingala for the needs of the present study and the validity of the translation was ensured using back-translation, from English to Lingala and from Lingala back to English by different translators to control the identification of the English texts. Refugees scored lower on self and higher on significant others and chance. Correlations between LOC and the presentation of psychopathology were sought. A negative correlation was found between the severity of depression and the score on self on the MHLC, a finding that has also been demonstrated in other studies. The intensity of depression was positively correlated with the score of MHLC on luck. There was also a positive correlation between the intensity of the symptoms of PTSD and the score of MHLC to luck, in our sample. The present study highlights the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Questionnaire as a remarkable and useful tool in the assessment of refugees with psychopathology in Greece.

KEYWORDS: Mental health locus of control, refugees, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder

Antonis Tsionis, Dimitris Pantoglou, Yiannis Kasvikis

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