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Control Deprivation Decreases, Not Increases, Belief in a Controlling God for People with Independent Self-Construal


Compensatory Control Model suggests that, when deprived of personal control, people compensate this lack by bolstering their belief in a controlling God. However, this is not the only way of reacting to control deprivation as past literature also depicted that people sometimes become motivated to restore their personal control. We argued that people with highly independent self-construal would not be comfortable with enhancing external control in the absence of a personal one. We conducted an online experiment (N = 246) and the results indicated that control deprivation actually decreased, not increased, belief in a controlling God for people with independent self-construal. Such finding suggested that not everyone compensates for the lack of personal control by enhancing external control. Implications of the findings and potential limitations were discussed.

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  1. As the current study as a part of a PhD thesis, there were also other dependent measures including FAD-Plus (Paulhus and Carey 2011), desirability of control (Burger and Cooper 1979), and harmony control (Morling and Fiske 1999) scales. But all of these measures came after belief in a controlling God scale in the procedure, thus it would be safe to argue that inclusion or exclusion of these variables in the experimental design would not alter the effect of control deprivation manipulation on belief in a controlling God.

  2. When religiosity was not taken as a covariate, the interaction was still significant (F(1, 242) = 8.01, p = .005, ηp2 = .032).

  3. An alternative way of investigating such interaction would be by conducting a moderated regression analysis. When independence and manipulation variables were centered and the interaction term was entered in the last step, the interaction was marginally significant (β = −.12, p = .057). Although the overall pattern was the same, 2 × 2 ANOVA was presented as the main analysis since it produced more clear-cut findings.


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This study was a part of the PhD thesis of Sinan Alper and it was supported by The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) as a part of graduate scholarship programme (2211-A).

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Correspondence to Sinan Alper.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Alper, S., Sümer, N. Control Deprivation Decreases, Not Increases, Belief in a Controlling God for People with Independent Self-Construal. Curr Psychol 38, 1490–1494 (2019).

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  • Control deprivation
  • Compensatory control
  • Belief in god
  • Independence