Relationship of locus of control to measures of adjustment

Since the concept of locus of control was proposed by Rotter in 1954, other theorists have sought to expand upon his initial bipolar concept. Levenson (1972) proposed that locus of control is not two dimensional or bipolar but that externality can be further subdivided to account for perceived control by powerful others and the attribution of chance or fate as a causal factor. Factor analyses consistently reveal at least 3 dimensions of locus of control and indicate that Rotter’s scale is too simplistic to account for intersubject variations in measures of adjustment. Previous studies also reveal a correlation between externality and well-being. The present study utilized Levenson’s three factor locus of control scale in an effort to replicate and clarify the relationship of locus of control to indices of adjustment and self-esteem. Additionally, the introduction of instructional manipulation was designed to address the issue of instructional effects, singly and in combination with the factor of sex. Results support the replicability and stability of the relationships between locus of control, well-being, and self-esteem. The instructional manipulation had the effect of decreasing attributions of internality in both sexes. Sex of subjects was shown to be related to reports of self-regard, physical abilities (subscales of the self-esteem measure), and depressive symptomatology.