THE INTERACTION OF THE LOCUS-OF-CONTROL VARIABLE WITH DISCREPANCIES BETWEEN SELF-CONCEPT AND ACHIEVEMENT
STEIN, ELISSA RAE
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This study explored the relationship between locus of control (LOC) and discrepancies between self-concept and achievement in a population of normal adolescents. It was hypothesized that students with more internal LOC orientations would have greater discrepancies between school achievement and both academic and general self-concept. It was further hypothesized that those who were internal for successful academic experiences would have more positive self-concepts which were discrepant from their levels of achievement, while those who were internal for academic failures would have more negative self-concepts which were discrepant from their levels of achievement. The study also sought to replicate literature findings that positive self-concepts would be related to internal LOC, and to higher achievement; and that internal LOC would be associated with higher achievement.;Subjects were 42 female and 45 male tenth graders in a suburban public high school. Classes were administered a LOC scale; two self-concept scales measuring general self-esteem and academic self-concept, respectively; and an experimental task measuring achievement expectation relative to task achievement. Grades were collected from the current and preceding year.;The results indicated a low but significant correlation between internality and larger discrepancies where self-concept was relatively higher than achievement. This same relationship was found to be even stronger for internality for positive academic experiences. However, there was little support for the hypothesis that internality for negative achievement experiences would be associated with discrepancies where self-concept is lower than achievement. A different pattern emerged with subjects at the extremes of the LOC continuum: Externals showed the largest discrepancies, in the direction of lower self-concept relative to achievement. Positive self-concept was associated with internality, and with higher achievement. No relationship was found between LOC and achievement.;It was concluded that internality is associated with a tendency to maintain positive self-evaluations, even when faced with contradictory feedback. Externals were generally more realistic in their perceptions. However, extremely external individuals are more likely to have poor self-esteem and have the most discrepant views of their achievement. It is suggested that LOC is a complex variable which must be considered in interaction with other aspects of personality such as self-concept.
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