The Relationship between Locus of Control and Personal-Emotional Adjustment and Social Adjustment to College Life in Students with and without Learning Disabilities
Estrada, Lisi, Dupoux, Errol, Wolman, Clara, College Student Journal
This study investigated the relationship between locus of control and social and personal-emotional adjustment to college life in students with and without learning disabilities (LD). Differences in locus of control in college students with and without LD were also examined. The Adult Nowicki-Strickland Internal/External Locus of Control Scale (Nowicki & Duke, 1974) was used to measure locus of control; two subscales from the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (Baker & Siryk, 1989) measured the social adjustment and personal-emotional adjustment to college. Thirty-one undergraduate college students with LD and 30 students without LD participated. Results showed a significant relationship between locus of control and both social adjustment and personal-emotional adjustment for both groups. Students with external locus of control tended to have higher adjustment scores than others. No differences were found in the locus of control orientation between students with and without LD, and in the personal-emotional adjustment to college life. Students with LD scored higher in social adjustment than their peers without LD.
During the past 25 years, increasing numbers of students with learning disabilities have enrolled in colleges and universities (Astin, 2003; Hartman & Krulwich, 1984; Milne, 1989; Satcher, 1992; Shea, 1994; Wilczenski & Gillepie-Silver, 1992; Stage & Milne, 1996). The American Council on Education (2001) and the National Center for Education Statistics (2002) reported that in 2000, 9 % of college students had a disability, with learning disabilities being one of the most reported disabilities. Although the percentage of students with learning disabilities who complete high school and pursue postsecondary education has increased, many of these students experience difficulty remaining in and completing postsecondary programs (Blackorby & Wagner, 1997). Murray, Goldstein, Nourse, and Edgar (2000) found that 80% of students with learning disabilities who had attended postsecondary education institutions, had not graduated five years after high school, compared to 56% of youth without disabilities. Furthermore, ten years after graduating from high school, 56% of youth with learning disabilities had not graduated from postsecondary education, compared to 32% of individuals without disabilities.
The transition to college is marked by complex challenges in academic, personal-emotional (PEA) and social adjustment (SA) (Chickering, 1969; Chickering & Reisser, 1993), particularly for students with disabilities. Some students find ways to make this transition constructively and adapt to college, whereas others feel overwhelmed and unable to effectively meet the demands of their new roles (Gerdes & Mallinckrodt, 1994). Although early studies focused on academic ability as a predictor of college adjustment (Baker, McNeil, & Siryk, 1985; Pantages & Creedon, 1978; Terenzini, Lorang, & Wright, 1981), a growing body of research suggests that a second dimension, psychological functioning, may be as important as academic factors in predicting psychosocial adjustment to college (Mallinckrodt, 1988; Mallinckrodt & Leong, 1992; Pancer, Hunsberger, Pratt, & Alisat, 2000; Rice, 1992: Wintre & Yaffe, 2000).
One psychological construct that may be useful in accounting for individual differences in the ability to adjust to university life is locus of control. Locus of control is a personality construct based on Rotter's (1954) social learning theory and refers to a person's attributional tendency regarding the cause or control of events (Spector, 1982), and to the generalized expectancy that reinforcements are under personal control (Phares, 1976). People who are prototypical externals do not perceive a reliable contingency between their behaviors and their outcomes (Rotter, 1966). These individuals generally believe that the rewards and punishments they incur vary with capricious, unstable forces such as luck or with the behaviors of powerful others. People who are prototypical internals perceive a reliable contingency between their behaviors and their outcomes. They believe for the most part that the rewards and punishments they experience vary as a function of their own actions. Thus, people described as having an external locus of control believe to a large extent that fate, luck, other people, or social structures determine reinforcements; individuals described as having an internal locus of control believe that effort or ability determines reinforcements (Rotter, 1966; Lefcourt, Miller, Ware, & Sherk, 1981).
Although locus of control is one of the most studied constructs in psychology (Rotter, 1990), there are limited studies examining the relationship between locus of control and adjustment to college (Dollinger, 2000; Fazey & Fazey, 2001; Roy & MacKay, 2002), and no studies assessing the relationship between these variables in college students with disabilities. The only study that focused …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: The Relationship between Locus of Control and Personal-Emotional Adjustment and Social Adjustment to College Life in Students with and without Learning Disabilities. Contributors: Estrada, Lisi - Author, Dupoux, Errol - Author, Wolman, Clara - Author. Journal title: College Student Journal. Volume: 40. Issue: 1 Publication date: March 2006. Page number: 43+. © 2009 Project Innovation (Alabama). COPYRIGHT 2006 Gale Group.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.