BACKGROUND: Locus of control (LoC) is a social cognition, that relates to the level of self-control that people have over their personal environment that influences their life. In this context, LoC is frequently associated with work-related behavioral outcomes, ranging from job attitudes, career behaviors, stress, and burnout.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between LoC, and work-related behavioral factors, socio-cultural factors, and personal factors among Australian General Practitioners (GPs).
METHODS: This study utilized data from the 2010 Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL) survey of doctors. Locus of control (LoC) was measured by a 7-point Likert scale based on Pearlin-Schooler Mastery/Self-efficacy 7-item Scale. Higher score indicated lower internal LoC. Multivariate linear regression model was performed to determine the independent predictors of LoC.
RESULTS: Of 3,664 GP participants, LoC did not differ by gender. Poor/fair self-rated health, working in urban location, running a stressful practice, poor balance of professional and personal commitments, poor support network, financial circumstances after retirement, and perception of unrealistic expectation by patients were significant predictors for a lower Internal LoC in a multivariate linear regression model. Adjusted R2 explained 22.4% of variation in predicting the LoC in our models.
CONCLUSIONS: LoC of Australian GPs is negatively affected by poor work-life balance, inadequate support, and unrealistic patient expectation. These work-place specific factors could be targeted by interventions to improve GPs wellbeing.