Does believing in fate facilitate active or avoidant coping? The effects of fate control on coping strategies and mental well-being

Wesley C.H. Wu, Sylvia Xiaohua Chen, Jacky C.K. Ng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The development of control-related constructs has involved different approaches over time, and yet internal and external locus of control are conceptualized as dichotomous factors influencing active versus avoidant coping strategies. While external control is associated with avoidance, a similar belief construct fate control, which denotes that life events are pre-determined and influenced by external forces but predictable and alterable, challenges the assumption of incompatibility between fate and agency. To develop a dynamic model of control, we suggest that external control would affect avoidant coping, which in turn would affect psychological distress, whereas fate control would affect both active and avoidant coping when dealing with stress. The model was supported among Hong Kong Chinese using a cross-sectional approach in Study 1 (n = 251) and hypothetical stressful scenarios in Study 2 (n = 294). The moderating effect of perceived controllability was observed in coping behaviors using a diary approach in Study 3 (n = 188). Our findings offer an alternative perspective to the dichotomous view of control and provide implications for coping strategies and mental well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6383
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2020


  • Coping
  • Fate control
  • Locus of control
  • Mental well-being
  • Social axioms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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