Self-control and Mental Health? Exploring Perceptions of Control from the Experiences of Black and Minority Communities



Although the disparities in mental health outcomes for ethnic minorities are well-documented; very little is known regarding service user perspectives and experiences from locus of control ambit.  The aim of this qualitative study was to investigate the experiences of African and Caribbean service users, from the context of their Locus of Control (LOC). Informed by an Interpretivist approach, this study was conducted via in-depth interviews (N=10) and two focus groups (N=14). Purposive sampling methods were used to recruit mental health service users from a South London Borough to participate in the study. Data was collected through a semi-structured interview schedule and a focus group guide. Data analysis was informed by an Interpretive Phenomenology Analysis approach in the examination of the LOC profiles and service user perspectives. The study found that the drivers of LOC for the respondents were: perceived racism; perceived loss of control due to challenges pertaining to accessing employment, work stressors, lack of career advancement, socio-economic challenges; discrimination at work, identity challenges and entry to and exit pathways from mental health services, all of which promotes LOC externality. The findings suggest that mental health services need to take an active interest in factors that constitute externality in the LOC in assessment of the needs of A & C groups in clinical and community interventions. A holistic approach to psycho-social and socio-cultural issues are highly needed to improve the mental health outcomes for members of African and Caribbean communities with experience of mental health challenges.


Mental health, Ethnicity, Locus of Control


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Joseph, S., & Keating, F. (2021). Self-control and Mental Health? Exploring Perceptions of Control from the Experiences of Black and Minority Communities. Advanced Journal of Social Science, 8(1), 145–163. Retrieved from