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Scared to lose control? General and health locus of control in females with a phobia of vomiting

Davidson, A.L. and Boyle, C. and Lauchlan, F. (2008) Scared to lose control? General and health locus of control in females with a phobia of vomiting. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 64 (1). pp. 30-39. ISSN 0021-9762

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Abstract

The term emetophobia (i.e., a fear of vomiting) exists as rather an elusive predicament, often eluding conventional treatment. The present study involved 149 participants, consisting of 51 emetophobics, 48 phobic controls (i.e. those who suffered from a different phobia), and 50 nonphobic controls. Participants were administered the Rotter (1966) Locus of Control Scale and the Health Locus of Control Scale by B.S. Wallston, Wallston, Kaplan, and Maides (1976). Significant differences were found among the three groups; specifically, that emetophobics had a significantly higher internal Locus of Control Scale score with regard to both general and health-related issues than did the two control groups. It is suggested that vomiting phobics may have a fear of losing control, and that their vomiting phobia is reflective of this alternative, underlying problem. More research is required to explore the association between emetophobia and issues surrounding control; however, the current study suggests that it may be helpful for therapists to consider this aspect when treating a patient with vomiting phobia.