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The status that the locus of control plays as a moderator variable in relation to exposure to environmental stressors, has been widely discussed in the recent scientific literature. Nevertheless, little research has been done in developing countries to establish the predictive qualities of this variable regarding the proactive attitudes or avoidance behaviours that certain populations could adopt in relation to the management of specific stress factors. In the research reported here we have tried to identify some variables which distinguish the propensity to identify the presence of domestic garbage as a nuisance or as a health risk factor, among inhabitants of certain ghettos in the Dominican Republic. The methodological considerations relating to the construction, validation and use of questionnaires among potentially illiterate populations are discussed.