A Patient's Rights to Refuse Treatment and How it Relates to Learned Helplessness of Individuals

1856 Words 8 Pages
A Patient's Rights to Refuse Treatment and How it Relates to Learned Helplessness of Individuals

The concept of learned helplessness was first suggested by M. Seligman an animal psychologist, in 1975. During a series of experiments involving rats and dogs, he discovered that the animals which had some control over their environment (in being able to prevent a series of electric shocks) would always try to avoid the undesirable stimulus; whereas the animals which had previously had no control over their environment (and so were unable to prevent the shocks) eventually became apathetic and would not try to escape the stimulus, even if it was possible to do so.

It was found
…show more content…
This leads us to the concept of the locus of control, as hypothesized by Rotter (1966). In this theory he stated that there are personality types who have and external locus of control, and try to hold external factors such as fate, luck, or other people as being responsible for many aspects of their lives. Those with an internal locus of control tend to believe that they have control over their own actions, and any events that happen to them during their lives, are a result of their own actions.

Whether one accepts learned helplessness or not, one of the most stressful occurrences which can occur in an individual’s life is an admission to hospital due to an acute or chronic illness. It is a time when the individual’s personal independence and privacy are all but destroyed, and everyday activities such as using the toilet, bathing, sleeping, eating and relaxing become part of an alien regime over which the individual has little or no control.

Some people cease their normal behavior patterns and adopt the role of the patient, as can be seen very often in hospitals, when they immediately change into their night clothes and get into bed. Generally these patients tend to be passive, place very few demands on the ward staff, are generally co-operative with their treatment program, and seldom ask questions. The ward staff reacts to these “good
Open Document