Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The major purpose or this study was to examine the differences in experienced control between a psychiatric population who were depressed and suicidal, a psychiatric population who were neither depressed, nor suicidal, and a non-psychiatric population who were neither depressed nor suicidal. In keeping with Experience Control theory, four sources of control were considered: 1) control from inner organismic states (FI), 2) control over these states (OI), 3) control over the environment (OE), and 4) control from the environment (FE). It was found that all four of the components differed as a function of the groups. These results also found the groups to differ significantly in their experience of control over both their internal and external states (OI & OE). It is suggested by this study that the phenomena of control does indeed exist as a significant characteristic of depression and suicide. An additional finding, with implications for treatment, has also been observed. The evidence indicates that the greatest loss of control experienced by the psychiatric females of both the non-depressed or suicidal and the depressed and suicidal groups is found at OI and OE. The assumption that psychiatric patients experience a greater amount of control from their environment (FE), as well as from their internal states (FI), does not appear valid. This would suggest treatment should be directed at teaching the individual self-direction and control over already present and fairly constant perceived control from both the internal and external loci. Supporting evidence for the use of the Experienced Control (EC) Scale as an index of loss of control as well as a suicidal predictor also has been indicated. The EC Scale has been shown to be sensitive enough to discriminate between both of the psychiatric groups.


Phyllis G. Tiffany

Date of Award

Spring 1975

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


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