Family and School Factors Related to, Internal-External Locus of Control in Kindergarten Children
LOIS, Paulson Kezar
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The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of selected school and family factors to internalexternal locus of control in children enrolled in a public school kindergarten. The 43 children in the study included 18 boys and 25 gir1s~ 31 children were white and 12 were black. The 52 parents of the children who participated in this study inc~uded 38 mothers, 12 fathers, and 2 grandmothers. Locus of control was defined as the degree to which a person believes that he possesses or lacks the power to control the occurrence of reinforcing events in his life. vihile persons with internal control (internals) tend to perceive events as a consequence of their actions, those persons .with external control (externals) tend to believe that reinforcing events are beyond personal control (Rotter, 1.954). Locus of control was measured by the Preschool and Primary Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Control Scale (Nowicki & Duke, 1974). Instruments used to measure variables associated with IE included: the Bender-Gestalt Test for Young Children (Bender, 1946) as an evaluatlon of visual motor function, the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (Dunn, 1959) as a measure of verbal intelligence, a modified sociogram as a description of the child's relationship with his peers, the adapted Piers-Harris Self-Concept Scale (1969) as a measure of selfconcept, a questionnaire to determine social characteristics of the family, and the Parent Attitude Survey (Shoben, 1949) \ as a measure of parent attitudes. The data were analyzed using multiple regression techniques8 The findings for these children supported hypothesized relationships between locus of control and Bender- Gestalt scores, intelligence scores, and self-concept scores as well as the following personal and family characteristics: ordinal position of the child, number of siblings, gender of the'child, and marital status of the parents. No relationship was found between IE and race, a child's relationship with his peers, or Parent Attitude Suryey scores. The relationship of IE to socio-economic class and rel~gion could not be determined because of the homogeneity of the group. MultipIe regression analysis indicated that the Bender-Gestalt and self-concept scores were the best predictors of internalexternal locus of control. The significant relationship reported in this study between IE and self-concept, ordinal position, number of siblings, gender, and intelligence scores confirmed earlier research reports. However, the direction of the relationship between IE and two other variables was unexpected. Internality was related to low rather than high Bender-Gestalt scores and to one-parent rather than two-parent families.