Helene was just fired from her job. She feels her supervisor never truly liked her. Due to what she believes is the economy's fault, she cannot find a job and now is running out of money. Helene's feeling that she has no control over her current situation leads her to go shopping. Helene fails to recognize any connection between her unwise spending habits and the likelihood of her going bankrupt. Helene's lack of perceptiveness best illustrates the dangers of:

  1. an internal locus of control
  2. the spotlight effect
  3. unconditional positive regard
  4. an external locus of control
  5. learned helplessness


a)     The correct answer to the question is (4) an external locus of control.

b)     (4) An external locus of control is the correct answer because it clearly reflects Helene’s lack of control. Helene believes she has no control over her life and that only external forces are controlling her life.

c)     (1) An internal locus of control cannot be the correct answer because that would mean Helene feels in control of her life and this is obviously not true.

(2) The spotlight effect is not correct because the question has nothing to do with Helene believing others are paying excessive attention to her. It is completely irrelevant to the passage.

(3) Unconditional positive regard would not be the correct answer because that would mean Helene would show complete support of a person no matter what they say or do. Since this passage is strictly about Helene, this option would not make any sense.

(5) Learned helplessness could make sense, but it is not as correct as an external locus of control. Although Helene may be feeling helpless, it is not to the extent where she has learned to simply give up after failure.