From Catastrophe to Mastery: The Relationship Between Internal Control and Distress During Economic Threat
Chiacchia, Daniel Joseph
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Every year, many young people navigate through a precarious job market, leading to substantial psychological distress. Across two preregistered experiments, the current program of research examines the curvilinear relationship between perceptions of internal control and distress when people find themselves in an uncertain job market, as well as the psychological mechanism (i.e., self-blame) by which this effect may occur. In Study 1, perceived control over ones life more generally and perceived internal control over ones job prospects did not buffer against lower distress when ones job prospects were threatened, nor were the relationships curvilinear in nature. In Study 2, results indicated that perceived internal control over ones job prospects did not cause distress during economic threat. Furthermore, no evidence was found to suggest that those with high levels of perceived internal control were more likely to engage in self-blame. The theoretical and practical implications of the proposed research are discussed.