Many chronic diseases impair patients' quality of life and may also affect their control perceptions. This could particularly happen for patients with epilepsy whose seizures often imply loss of control as a deeply disturbing experience. In 1980, a study on learned helplessness in epilepsy found a highly significant reduction of internal general locus of control (GLOC) and an increase of chance and powerful others health-related LOC (HLOC). In consequence, LOC became a frequent target of investigations relating to depression and anxiety, quality of life, coping, compliance, and other psychosocial aspects of epilepsy. Both GLOC and HLOC were investigated, and special groups like children, elderly, mentally handicapped persons, and those with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures were addressed. Most studies attempted to relate in-group differences of LOC to other parameters. Seizure-free patients were found to have a more internal HLOC, and patients with severe epilepsies have a more external HLOC. Patients with a high external HLOC seem to have more difficulties with coping and to be more anxious. Whereas external GLOC was correlated with learned helplessness, internal GLOC was associated with high self-efficacy and better life quality. An association of external LOC with depression seemed not to be a stable co-relation as clinical improvement following epilepsy surgery dissociated the two. A hypothesis was confirmed that the ability of some patients to counteract seizures at their onset, thus preserving control, was correlated with a higher internal HLOC. Some other theoretically well-founded hypotheses were not supported. Absolute figures as reported in several papers are of limited use because the only normative data for comparison come from a local sample of 1976 from Tennessee, whereas LOC scores may differ largely dependent on cultural and societal conditions. Very few controlled studies exist, and the early finding of a generally externalized LOC in epilepsy was confirmed only in one study performed in a South Indian community known for strong stigma against epilepsy. A recent transcultural investigation conducted in Brazil and Lithuania found no differences from healthy controls and between countries. It seems worthwhile to further investigate relations of LOC with epilepsy stigma.