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The Danish Center of Psychotraumatology


Locus of control refers to the extent to which people feel they can control the situations they are in and affected by. Individuals who describe the situations they enter into as influenced by their own actions use an internal locus of control, while individuals who explain situations as influenced by external factors beyond their control use an external locus of control. Studies have shown that an external locus of control is associated with more PTSD symptoms and is considered a risk factor for the development of PTSD. The Danish Center for Psychotraumatology contributes knowledge about the general correlation between locus of control and the long-term sequelae of PTSD, and whether locus of control can predict chronic or long-term PTSD.


We present PTSD-trajectories of resilience, delayed onset, recovery, and chronicity. We investigate the predictive role of locus of control and coping style related to membership of these trajectories. Internal locus of control decreases the risk of belonging to the symptomatic trajectories. Less use of emotion-focused coping decreases the risk of symptomatic trajectory membership.•Less use of problem-focused coping increases the risk of membership of symptomatic trajectories. While longitudinal posttraumatic stress responses are known to be heterogeneous, little is known about predictors of those responses. We investigated if locus of control (LOC) and coping style are associated with long-term PTSD-trajectories after exposure to combat. Six hundred and seventy five Israeli soldiers with or without combat stress reaction (CSR) from the Lebanon war were assessed 1, 2, and 20 years after the war. Combat exposure, LOC, and coping style were then investigated as covariates of the trajectories of resilience, recovery, delayed onset, and chronicity. Symptomatic trajectories in the CSR and the non-CSR group were significantly associated to varying degrees with perceived life threat during combat (ORs: 1.76–2.53), internal LOC (0.77–0.87), emotional coping style (0.28–0.34), and low use of problem-focused coping (2.12–3.11). In conclusion, assessment of LOC and coping can aid prediction of chronic PTSD outcomes of combat exposure.


Karstoft, K-I., Armour, C., Elklit, A. & Solomon, Z. (2015). The role of locus of control and coping style in predicting longitudinal PTSD-trajectories after combat exposure. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 32, 89-94. Doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2015.03.007

Field practice placements contribute substantially to students’ gradual attainment and final mastery of the skills of the teaching profession. The aim of this study was to adapt the Danish consensus translation of the PSS-10 to assess perceived stress during field practice placements of varying durations and to investigate its validity for use with student teachers in field practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were collected upon completion of 6 weeks of a field placement at one of three levels (N = 359), and grades from the field practice exam were obtained. To resolve any issues with differential item functioning and lack of item independence, graphical loglinear Rasch models were used. Criterion validity was investigated in relation to the level of field practice and subsequent grades. The results showed that items 10 and 4 had to be eliminated; both subscales had locally dependent items, and one item in the perceived lack of control subscale functioned differentially relative to the level of field practice placement. Criteria expectations were confirmed, though not all were significant. The psychometric properties of the adapted PSS-10 were in line with previous findings on the original PSS-10 subscales. Score levels can be used as benchmarks in post-COVID-19 studies of student teachers’ field-practice-related perceived stress.


Nielsen, T. (2023). Perceived Stress and Perceived Lack of Control of Student Teachers in Field Practice Placements in Schools during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Validity of the PSS-10 Adapted to the Field Practice Context. Education Sciences. 2023; 13(10):983. DOI: 10.3390/educsci13100983


Last Updated 29.09.2023