What is Locus of Control?

Locus of control is a psychological concept that refers to an individual’s beliefs about the influence of their behaviour on the outcome of events. It is a measure of how much control a person believes they have over their life and the events that occur in it. People with an internal locus of control believe that their behaviour directly affects the outcome of events, while those with an external locus of control believe that external forces such as luck or fate determine the outcome of events.

History of Locus of Control

The concept of locus of control was first developed in the 1960s by American psychologist Julian Rotter. Rotter proposed that people have a “generalized expectancy” that their behaviour will lead to certain outcomes. He argued that this expectancy could be either internal or external, depending on a person’s beliefs about the influence of their behaviour on the outcome of events.

Rotter’s theory was further developed in the 1970s by American psychologist Jack Block. Block argued that locus of control was a personality trait that could be measured using a questionnaire. He proposed that people with an internal locus of control were more likely to be proactive and take responsibility for their actions, while those with an external locus of control were more likely to be passive and rely on external forces to determine the outcome of events.

Types of Locus of Control

There are two main types of locus of control: internal and external. People with an internal locus of control believe that their behaviour directly affects the outcome of events, while those with an external locus of control believe that external forces such as luck or fate determine the outcome of events.

Internal locus of control is associated with feelings of self-determination, autonomy, and responsibility. People with an internal locus of control tend to be proactive and take initiative in their lives. They are more likely to take risks and are less likely to be influenced by external forces.

External locus of control is associated with feelings of helplessness and passivity. People with an external locus of control tend to be more passive and rely on external forces to determine the outcome of events. They are more likely to be influenced by external factors such as luck or fate.

Influence of Locus of Control

Locus of control has been found to have a significant influence on an individual’s behaviour, attitudes, and beliefs. People with an internal locus of control are more likely to be proactive and take initiative in their lives. They are more likely to take risks and have higher levels of self-confidence.

People with an external locus of control are more likely to be passive and rely on external forces to determine the outcome of events. They are more likely to be influenced by external factors such as luck or fate. They are also more likely to experience feelings of helplessness and have lower levels of self-confidence.

Measurement of Locus of Control

Locus of control can be measured using a variety of self-report questionnaires. The most commonly used questionnaire is the Internal-External Locus of Control Scale (IELOCS), which was developed by Jack Block in the 1970s. The IELOCS is a 20-item questionnaire that measures an individual’s beliefs about the influence of their behaviour on the outcome of events.

The IELOCS is a widely used and reliable measure of locus of control. It has been found to be a valid measure of internal and external locus of control in a variety of populations.

Conclusion

Locus of control is a psychological concept that refers to an individual’s beliefs about the influence of their behaviour on the outcome of events. It is a measure of how much control a person believes they have over their life and the events that occur in it. People with an internal locus of control believe that their behaviour directly affects the outcome of events, while those with an external locus of control believe that external forces such as luck or fate determine the outcome of events.

Locus of control has been found to have a significant influence on an individual’s behaviour, attitudes, and beliefs. It can be measured using a variety of self-report questionnaires, the most commonly used being the Internal-External Locus of Control Scale (IELOCS). Understanding locus of control can help people to better understand their behaviour and beliefs, and to make more informed decisions about their lives.

FAQs

What is Locus of Control?

Locus of Control is a psychological concept which refers to the degree to which people believe that they have control over their lives. It is the extent to which people believe that they can influence their own behaviour and outcomes.

How is Locus of Control measured?

Locus of Control is typically measured through self-report questionnaires. These questionnaires ask participants to rate how strongly they agree or disagree with statements about their own control over their lives.

What are the different types of Locus of Control?

There are two main types of Locus of Control: Internal and External. People with an Internal Locus of Control believe that they have control over their own behaviour and outcomes. People with an External Locus of Control believe that their behaviour and outcomes are determined by external factors such as luck or fate.

What are the implications of Locus of Control?

The type of Locus of Control that a person has can have implications for their behaviour and outcomes. People with an Internal Locus of Control tend to be more motivated, have higher self-esteem, and be more successful in achieving their goals. People with an External Locus of Control tend to be less motivated, have lower self-esteem, and be less successful in achieving their goals.

How can Locus of Control be changed?

Locus of Control can be changed through interventions such as cognitive-behavioural therapy and mindfulness-based interventions. These interventions can help people to challenge their beliefs about their control over their lives and to develop a more balanced view.

References


1. Rotter, J. B. (1966). Generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement. Psychological Monographs, 80(1), 1-28.

2. Lefcourt, H. M. (1976). Locus of control: Current trends in theory and research. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

3. Wallston, B. S., Wallston, K. A., & DeVellis, R. (1978). Development of the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control (MHLC) Scales. Health Education Monographs, 6(2), 160-170.