Date of Award

2006

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Psychology and Social Sciences

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Eyal Gringart

Abstract

Locus of control (LOG) influences many aspects of one's behaviour and associated quality of life (Rotter, 1992). LOG is particularly important for the increasing older adult population and wider health-care system (Swett & Bishop, 2004). Researchers have criticised LOG studies for: an assumed dichotomy of LOG, a lack of recent investigation, non-validity of underlying theoretical position, pronounced inconsistency of findings, and inattention to possible age and gender effects. The current review presents a contemporary focus of LOG research literature to highlight the aforementioned concerns, and provides a systematic account of generalisability for key studies. In addition to discussing the associations and limitations within the current body of LOG research, directions for future investigations are discussed. The locus of control (LOC) construct has empirical associations with many aspects of psychosocial functioning (Rotter, 1992). LOC is particularly important for older adults' well-being, and the effectiveness of health-care systems (Swett & Bishop, 2004). The present study provided a contemporary exploration of multi-dimensional LOC (MLOC), addressing inconsistencies concerning age and gender effects within LOC literature. Levenson's (1973, 1981) Internality, Powerful-Others, and Chance Scale was administered to a total of 126 young adult university students aged between 20 and 35 years (M= 23.76, SD= 4.56), and 97 older adults aged 60 to 75 years (M= 68.13, SD = 3.60). Multi-variate analyses showed older adults to have a greater internal LOC than young adults, with simultaneously lower powerful-others LOC. After statistically controlling for older adults' marginal reduction in perceived general health, older adults also scored significantly lower chance based LOC than young adults. No significant differences on gender were observed, before or after controlling for general health. The results suggested that LOC is not a constant trait, and is not affected by gender. Findings also suggest that health-care strategies should consider older adults' LOC, particularly as ill-health was associated with a perception of random-chance. However, the cross-sectional survey design, and self-reported data limited the study's conclusions. Future research was recommended from both theoretical and applied perspectives.

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