Health locus of control in cancer patient and oncologist decision-making: An exploratory qualitative study

Keren Dopelt, Osnat Bashkin, Noam Asna, Nadav Davidovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To investigate how cancer patients' and family members' perspective and health locus of control are presented in clinical encounter decision-making.

METHODS: Semi-structured in-depth interviews were carried out with 16 cancer patients and 6 family members living in Israel (n = 22). Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and data were analyzed using thematic analysis.

RESULTS: Following the health locus of control model, the findings were divided into an external and internal locus of control themes, and we added a theme regarding shared decision-making. Internal locus of control sub-themes included asking for a second opinion, negotiating with the doctor, asking questions, looking for information, and fighting for their rights. External locus of control sub-themes included powerful others, oncologists, and fate. The dominant approach of most of the interviewees was an external locus of control. Women demonstrated more external locus of control than men. On the direct question of who should decide on treatment-the doctor, the patient, or both jointly-the answers ranged from only the doctor (n = 8) to together (n = 7) to only the patient (n = 8).

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides insights into different aspects of locus of control in the clinical encounter involving cancer patients. The findings reflect the need to devote comprehensive attention to cancer patients' perceptions and experiences in the clinical encounter. A patient-centered care approach and a personalized framework for decision-making in cancer care are essential to achieving better treatment outcomes. Further research can engage in the development and validation of an up-to-date health locus of control questionnaire for cancer patients based on the findings of this study.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0263086
Number of pages12
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
StatePublished - 27 Jan 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Health locus of control in cancer patient and oncologist decision-making: An exploratory qualitative study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this