Individual beliefs and perceptions have a significant influence on their health. Research studies and works in this direction have proved that these beliefs affect individual behaviour in terms of their eating habits, medication routine or following their doctors’ instructions. Such behavioural aspects also have a strong impact on the individual’s physiological system and its effects on the immune system or cardiovascular systems. Research evidence has also supported the belief that the patient’s health conditions are also influenced by the beliefs and perceptions of the health professionals. The health professionals’ belief impacts the nature of treatment adopted and the way it impacts the patient’s own perception on his health condition and subsequent health behaviour (Broome and Llewelyn, 1995). The theoretical approaches and research findings over the decades have sought to explain the impact of such variables on individual health behaviour and the extent to which it predicts health outcomes. Different models have sought to explain health related behaviours and among these models the locus of control has been the focus of much research.
The locus of control refers to “the degree to which individuals perceive events in their lives as being a consequence of their own actions, and thereby controllable (internal control), or as being unrelated to their own behaviour, and therefore beyond personal control (external control)” (Bahar, 1988, p45). The work on health locus of control (HLOC) has been inspired by Rotter who conceptualized the measurement scale to evaluate individual behaviour or expectancy in different dimensions. These dimensions include internality, powerful others and chance (Broome and Llewelyn, 1995). The internal HLOC relates to the individual belief that their health outcomes is attached to their health behaviour and hence it can be controlled, powerful others HLOC indicates that individual health is dependent on the behaviour of