A study of the relationships of parents' locus of control and child-rearing attitudes to children's locus of control

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Strate, Mary Margaret
Clinical Psychology
article description
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between children's locus of control and parental locus of control and attitudes toward warmth and control in child-rearing. It was hoped that the degree to which the parent variables were related to children's locus of control would be useful in suggesting specific emphases for parent training and counseling.;The subjects chosen for this research were public school children attending fourth, fifth, or sixth grades in an eastern Virginia school system and their parents. The sample was limited to 233 volunteers from middle to upper socioeconomic two-parent homes.;Participating parents completed three self-report measures (locus of control, warmth, control), after which the students completed the children's locus of control measure. The data collected were then organized according to students' gender and locus of control score. Four groups were derived: internal males, external males, internal females, and external females. Six parent variables were then examined for each group. to investigate the research hypotheses, correlational analyses, followed by multiple regression analyses were performed.;Results of the research suggest that for only one group, "internal males", were the relationships between locus of control scores and parents' variables significant. For this group, the data suggest that males who have internal locus of control orientations may have mothers and fathers who also have internal locus of control orientations and who display a high degree of warmth or acceptance in child-rearing. It was also found that when the locus of control scores of all four groups were combined they were significantly related to fathers', but not to mothers', locus of control scores.;These relationships, while statistically significant, were extremely weak. This suggests that there may be other variables (social, familial, or individual) which were not considered in this research which may interact to influence the development of children's locus of control orientations. Recommendations are given for future research which suggest the inclusion of these variables.