The Role of Childhood Traumas, Emotional Self-Efficacy and Internal-External Locus of Control in Predicting Psychological Resilience

Tuğba Türk-Kurtça, Metin Kocatürk


Psychological resilience is a broad concept that can be evaluated in the context of past experiences, emotional experiences and control mechanisms shaped by internal or external factors. In this study, the role of childhood traumas, emotional self-efficacy and the internal-external locus of control were investigated in predicting psychological resilience. The study included a total of 291 participants (208 females and 83 males) with average age of 20.29 (SD = 2.59). Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, Emotional Self-Efficacy Scale, Internal-External Locus of Control Scale and Psychological Resilience Scale were used to collect data from participants. As a result of simple linear regression analysis, childhood traumas experiences, emotional self-efficacy and internal locus of control predicted resilience significantly among university students. Also, there was significant positive relationship between emotional self-efficacy, locus of control and resilience. On the other hand, resilience and childhood traumas were correlated negatively. The findings of the study are discussed at the end. The protective factors related to psychological resilience should be considered in a versatile way to understand its fundamental structure.


Childhood Trauma, Emotional Self-Efficacy, Locus of Control, Resilience

Full Text:



Akyıl, A. (2019). The relation among childhood traumas, cognitive emotion regulation and psychological well-being: Sample of Diyarbakır and Mardin (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from Council of Higher Education Thesis Center. (Thesis No. 569945).

Alisinanoğlu, F., & Ulutaş, İ. (2000). Examining the relationship between the locus of control of children and their mothers. Çocuk Gelişimi ve Eğitimi Dergisi, 1(1), 23-31.

Almedom, A. M. (2008). Resilience research and policy/practice discourse in health, social, behavioral, and environmental sciences over the last ten years. African Health Sciences, 8(3), 5-13.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington: American Psychiatric Association.

Armstrong, A. R., Galligan, R. F., & Critchley, C. R. (2011). Emotional intelligence and psychological resilience to negative life events. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(3), 331-336.

Aydın, B. (2010). Examining the relationship between emotional intelligence, hope and resilience in university students. (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from Council of Higher Education Thesis Center. (Thesis No. 270930).

Aydın, E. (2018). The effect of childhood traumatic experiences on resilience and depression symptoms (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from Council of Higher Education Thesis Center. (Thesis No. 497319).

Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.

Bilim, G. (2002). Childhood abuse history: Emotion regulation, interpersonal styles and psychological well-being. (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from Council of Higher Education Thesis Center. (Thesis No. 312573).

Bindal, G. (2018). The analysis of the relationship between the resilience of adolescents and trauma in childhood or attachment styles (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from Council of Higher Education Thesis Center. (Thesis No. 498780).

Bonanno, G. A., Galea, S., Bucciarelli, A., & Vlahov, D. (2006). Psychological resilience after disaster: New York City in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attack. Psychological Science, 17(3), 181–186. 01682.x

Bonanno, G.A., Westphal, M., & Mancini, A.D. (2011). Resilience to loss and potential trauma. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 7, 511–535.

Bozkurt, N. & Harmanlı, Z. (2002). Comparison of elementary school students’ locus of control in terms of some variables. Buca Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi, 14, 29-37.

Campbell-Sills, L., Cohan, S. L. & Stein, M. B. (2006). Relationship of resilience to personality, coping, and psychiatric symptoms in young adults. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44(4), 585-599.

Collishaw, S., Pickles, A., Messer, J., Rutter, M., Shearer, C., & Maughan, B. (2007). Resilience to adult psychopathology following childhood maltreatment: Evidence from a community sample. Child Abuse & Neglect, 31(3), 211-229.

Creswell, J. W. (2012). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (4th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Cutuli, J. J. & Masten, A. S. (2009). Resilience. In S J. Lopez (Ed), The encyclopedia of positive psychology (pp. 837-843). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Dağ, İ. (1991). The reliability and validity analysis of Rotter’s Internal-External Locus of Control Scale for university students. Psikoloji Dergisi, 7(26), 10-16.

Dağlı, T. & İnanıcı, M. A. (2010). Üniversiteler için hastane temelli çocuk koruma merkezleri el kitabı. Ankara: Fersa Ofset Matbaacılık.

Dönmez, A. (1983). Denetim odağı (locus of control) ve çevre büyüklüğü. Ankara Üniversitesi Eğitim Bilimleri Fakültesi Dergisi, 16(1), 37-47.

Dönmez, A. (1985). Denetim odağı (locus of control). Ankara Üniversitesi Eğitim Bilimleri Fakültesi Dergisi, 18(1), 31-43.

Duncan, T. S. (2013). A study of resilience and locus of control among homeless and non-homeless adults (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations database. (UMI No. 3589442)

Durak, H. (1997). Relationship between self-esteem and locus of control levels of Ankara Vocational School students. (Unpublished master’s thesis). Gazi University, Ankara.

Durak, M. (2002). Predictive role of hardiness on psychological symptomatology of university students experienced earthquake (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from Council of Higher Education Thesis Center. (Thesis No. 123043).

Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using SPSS. Canada: Sage Publication.

Findley, M.J. & Cooper, H.M. (1983). Locus of control and academic achievement: A literature review. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44(2), 419-427.

Finkelstein, N., Rechberger, E., Russell, L. A., VanDeMark, N. R., Noether, C. D., O’Keefe, M., Gould, K., Mockus, S., & Rael, M. (2005). Building resilience in children of mothers who have co-occurring disorders and histories of violence: Intervention model and implementation issues. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 32(2), 141–154.

Fischer, G. & Riedesser P. (1999). Lehrbuch der psychotraumatologie (Textbook of psychotraumatology). München: Ernst Reinhardt Verlag.

Garmezy, N. (1993). Children in poverty: Resiliency despite risk. Psychiatry, 56(1), 127-136.

Gizir, C. A. (2004). Academic resilience: An investigation of protective factors contributing to the academic achievement of eighth grade students in poverty. (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from Council of Higher Education Thesis Center. (Thesis No. 147608).

Gizir, C. A. (2016). A literature review of studies on resilience, risk, and protective factors. Turkish Psychological Counseling and Guidance Journal, 3(28), 113-128.

Heller, S. S., Larrieu, J. A., D’Imperio, R., & Boris, N. W. (1999). Research on resilience to child maltreatment: Empirical considerations. Child Abuse & Neglect, 23(4), 321-338.

Herman, J. L. (2015). Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence--from domestic abuse to political terror. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Holaday, M. & McPhearson, R. W. (1997). Resilience and severe bums. Journal of Counseling & Development, 75(5), 346-356.

Hornor, G. (2017). Resilience. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 31(3), 384-390.

Karaırmak, Ö. & Çetinkaya Siviş, R. (2011). The effect of self-esteem and locus of control on resilience: The mediating role of affects. Turkish Psychological Counseling and Guidance Journal, 4(35), 30-43.

Kieffer, C. H. (1984). Citizen empowerment: A developmental perspective. In J. Rappaport & R. Hess (Eds.), Studies in empowerment: Steps toward understanding and action (pp. 9-36). New York, NY: Hawthorne Press.

Kirk, B. A., Schutte, N. S., & Hine, D. W. (2008). Development and preliminary validation of an emotional self-efficacy scale. Personality and Individual Differences, 45(5), 432-436.

Kirk, B. A., Schutte, N. S., & Hine, D. W. (2011). The effect of an expressive-writing intervention for employees on emotional self-efficacy, emotional intelligence, affect, and workplace incivility. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 41(1), 179-195.

Klag, S. & Bradley, G. (2004). The role of hardiness in stress and illness: An exploration of the effect of negative affectivity and gender. British Journal of Health Psychology, 9(2), 137-161.

Küçük, T. (2019). Childhood abuse history: Emotion regulation, psychological adjustment and resilience in late adolescence. (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from Council of Higher Education Thesis Center. (Thesis No. 564890).

Lancaster, S. L., Melka, S. E., & Rodriguez, B. F. (2009). An examination of the differential effects of the experience of DSM-IV defined traumatic events and life stressors. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 23(5) 711–717.

Liu, Y., Wang, Z., & Lü, W. (2012). Resilience and affect balance as mediators between trait emotional intelligence and life satisfaction. Personality and Individual Differences, 54(7), 850-855.

Luthar, S. S. (2006). Resilience in development: A synthesis of research across five decades. In D. C. Cicchetti (Ed.), Developmental psychopathology: risk, disorder and adaptation (2nd ed., Vol. 3, pp. 739–795). Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons.

Luthar, S.S, Cicchetti, D., & Becker, B. (2000). The construct of resilience: A critical evaluation and guidelines for future work. Child Development, 71(3), 543-562. 1111/1467-8624.00164

MacDermid, S. M., Samper, R., Schwarz, R., Nishida, J., & Nyaronga, D. (2008). Understanding and promoting resilience in military families, In: Military Family Research Institute. Available at: http://

Maddi, S. R. & Hightower, M. (1999). Hardiness and optimism as expressed in coping patterns. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 51(2), 95-105.

Maddi, S. R. & Khoshaba, D. M. (1994). Hardiness and mental health. Journal of Personality Assessment, 63(2), 265-274.

Maier, M. F., Vitiello, V. E., & Greenfield, D. B. (2012). A multilevel model of child-and classroom-level psychosocial factors that support language and literacy resilience of children in Head Start. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 27(1), 104-114.

Malak, K. (2011). University students’ self-lift power with heads of the relationship between emotional. (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from Council of Higher Education Thesis Center. (Thesis No. 280622).

Masten, A. S. (2001). Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development. American Psychologist, 56(3), 227–238.

Masten, A. S., Wang, M. C., & Gordon, E. W. (1994). Resilience in individual development: Successful adaptation despite risk and adversity. In M. Wang & E. Gordon (Eds.), Educational Resilience in Inner-City America: Challenges and Prospects (pp. 3-25). Lawrance Erlbaum.

McGloin, J. M. & Widom, C. S. (2001). Resilience among abused and neglected children grown up. Development and Psychopathology, 13(4) 1021- 1038.

McIntyre, T. C. (1984). The relationship between locus of control and teacher burnout. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 54(2) 235-238.

Moeller, T.P., Bachmann, G.A., & Moeller, J.R. (1993). The combined effects of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse during childhood: Long-term health consequences for women. Child Abuse & Neglect, 17(5), 623-640.

Mulholland, D. J., Watt, N. F., Philpott, A., & Sarlin, N. (1991). Academic performance in children of divorce: Psychological resilience and vulnerability. Psychiatry, 54(3), 268-280. 00332747.1991.11024556

Muris, P. (2002). Relationships between self-efficacy and symptoms of anxiety disorders and depression in abnormal adolescent sample. Personality and Individual Differences, 32(2), 337–348.

Ören, N. (1991). Relationships between locus of control and self-acceptance. Turkish Psychological Counseling and Guidance Journal, 1(2), 20-28.

Özözen-Danacı, M., & Pınarcık, Ö. (2017). Examining the effect of preservice teachers’ resilience and hope for the future on emotional intelligence. International Journal of Eurasia Social Sciences, 5(29), 1054-1070.

Pearson, M., & Wilson, H. (2008). Using expressive counselling tools to enhance emotional literacy, emotional wellbeing and resilience: Improving therapeutic outcomes with expressive therapies. Counselling, Psychotherapy, and Health, 4(1), 1-19.

Peth-Pierce, R. (2000). A good beginning: Sending America’s children to school with the social and emotional competence they need to succeed. Chapel Hill, NC: The Child Mental Health Foundations and Agencies Network.

Petrides, K. V. & Furnham, A. (2001). Trait emotional intelligence: Psychometric investigation with reference to established trait taxonomies. European Journal of Personality, 15(6), 425-448.

Petrides, K. V. & Furnham, A. (2003). Trait emotional intelligence: Behavioral validation in two studies of emotion recognition and reactivity to mood induction. European Journal of Personality, 17(1), 39-57.

Polat, O. (2001). Çocuk ve şiddet [Child and violence]. İstanbul: Der Yayınları.

Rees, P. (2013). The mental health, emotional literacy, cognitive ability, literacy attainment and ‘resilience’ of ‘looked after children’: A multidimensional, multiple‐rater population based study. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 52(2), 183-198.

Southwick, S., Charney, D., Friedman, M., & Litz B. (2011). Resilience and mental health: Challenges across the lifespan. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Stack-Cutler, H. L., Parrila, R. K., & Torppa, M. (2015). Using a multidimensional measure of resilience to explain life satisfaction and academic achievement of adults with reading difficulties. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 48(6), 646-657.

Şahin, F. (2009). Physical, sexual and emotional abuse of the child: Forensic Medicine Institute experience. (İstanbul Tabip Odası Çocuk Hakları Komisyonu, Yay. Haz.). Çocuk ve şiddet çalıştayı. (pp. 24-26). İstanbul: Golden Print.

Şar, V., (2009). Dissociative identity disorder: A psychopathology associated with childhood mental traumas. Klinik Gelişim, 22(4), 26-33.

Şar, V. & Özturk, E. (2007). Functional dissociation of the self: A socio-cognitive approach to trauma and dissociation. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 8(4), 69-89.

Şar, V., Öztürk, E., & İkikardeş, E. (2012). Validity and reliability of the Turkish version of childhood trauma questionnaire. Turkiye Klinikleri Journal of Medical Sciences, 32(4), 1054-1063.

Tabachnick, B. G. & Fidell, L. S. (2013). Using multivariate statistics (6th ed.). Pearson.

Taner, Y. & Gökler, B. (2004). Child abuse and neglect: Psychiatric aspects. Acta Medica, 35(2), 82-86. Retrieved from /188

Totan, T., İkiz, E., & Karaca, R. (2010). The adaptation of the emotional self-efficacy scale to Turkish university students and the examination of the psychometric characteristics of its structure in one and four factors. Buca Faculty of Education Journal, 28, 71-95.

Tümkaya, S. (2001). Burnout of primary school teachers with different levels locus of control in terms of some variables. Turkish Psychological Counseling and Guidance Journal, 2(15), 29-40.

Werner, E. E. & Smith, R. S. (1982). Vulnerable but invincible: A longitudinal study of resilience children and youth. New York: McGraw Hill.,

Wingo, A. P., Wrenn, G., Pelletier, T., Gutman, A. R., Bradley, B., & Ressler, K. J. (2010). Moderating effects of resilience on depression in individuals with a history of childhood abuse or trauma exposure. Journal of Affective Disorders, 126(3), 411-414.

Yehuda, R. (2004). Risk and resilience in posttraumatic stress disorder. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 65(1), 29-36.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2013-2020 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies  

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.