The belief that events in one’s life, whether good or bad, are caused by uncontrollable factors such as the environment, other people, or a higher power.
Example: Whenever he fails a test, the boy always has an excuse ready: the room was too hot, he wasn’t feeling well, the test was unfair. He never seems to feel culpable, even if he simply hasn’t studied enough.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Jan 2009