Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

Altering Locus of Control of Individuals with Hearing Impairments by Outdoor-Adventure Courses

Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

Altering Locus of Control of Individuals with Hearing Impairments by Outdoor-Adventure Courses

Article excerpt

Altering Locus of Control of Individuals with Hearing Impairments by Outdoor-Adventure Courses

For some time, researchers have been concerned with the significance of the degree to which individuals perceive their rewards as contingent upon their own behavior. Locus of control as a psychological construct is considered a generalized expectancy variable that operates across many situations and relates to individuals' perceptions of control or power over the reinforcements they receive (Rotter, 1975). Those who primarily view rewards they receive as caused by their own behavior have been described as possessing an "internal" locus of control. Those who believe their rewards are caused by something or someone outside themselves are said to have an "external" locus of control (Rotter, 1966). It has been found that persons who attribute their success to internal causes affirm more pride and satisfaction in their accomplishment than do people who attribute success to an external cause (Weiner, 1979). Studies examining the relationship between locus of control and personal adjustment (Ainsworth, 1977; Shavitt & Rabinowitz, 1978) have found an internal locus of control is related to positive personal adjustment while external locus of control is related to decreased personal, social, and overall adjustment.

Many characteristics have been ascribed to persons possessing an internal or external locus of control. Internally oriented individuals have been described as having a tendency toward self-regulation (Liverant & Scodel, 1960). They are able to overcome obstacles and are able to develop constructive responses to frustation (Brissett & Nowicki, 1973). They show more initiative to control the environment, regulate impulses better, improve personality problems, and choose higher probabilities of success. Internals describe themselves as being assertive, achieving, powerful, independent, effective, and industrious (Hersche & Scheibe, 1967).

Individuals who possess an external control orientation have been described as being self-pitying and unable to cope with the reality of a situation (Phares, 1968). They express aspirations incompatible with their abilities (DuCette & Wolk, 1972), and have lower vocational expectancies (Marecek & Frasch, 1977). Hountras and Scharfe (1970) have characterized externally oriented individuals as inhibited, wary, resentful, self-centered, confused, stereotyped in thinking, and lacking self-direction and self-discipline. In addition, they have been described as low in self-confidence and in expectations for success (Rotter, 1966). Research involving locus of control and individuals who are hearing impaired has suggested that in comparison to their hearing peers, hearing-impaired individuals tend to be more externally oriented (Blanton & Nunnally, 1964; Bodner & Johns, 1977; Dowaliby, Burke, & McKee, 1983).

The use of outdoor-adventure education programs as a therapeutic intervention has recently been gaining recognition (Stich, 1984). Outdoor-adventure education provides individuals an opportunity to learn from the natural environment. It is a method of teaching and an approach to learning that emphasizes hands-on, multi-sensory experiences. Courses consists of a series of prescribed physical and social tasks, where stress, uncertainty, and the need for problem solving, communication and immediate judgment are present. Outdoor-adventure programs are an educational process concerned with self-discovery and a recognition that many of an individual's limits (physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual) are self-imposed. Through activities such as rock climbing, white-water canoeing, winter mountaineering, a ropes course, and group process, it is believed that participants will come to recognize that they are capable of much more than they had previously thought.

Research (Lefcourt, 1976) has revealed that individuals' locus of control orientation scores are susceptible to influence. …

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