LOCUS-OF-CONTROL IN AN INTERACTIONIST APPROACH TO BEHAVIOR
Reiss, Christopher Jacob
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The impetus for this empirical study is: 1) to provide further construct validity for the I-E scale; and 2) to advance the locus-of-control construct as an important concept in the growing theoretical model of interactionism. The main models in personality psychology are compared and contrasted with interactionism. The literature on locus-of-control, implicating its importance for understanding the interactionist perspective, is reviewed. Because anxiety and anagram tasks are utilized as person and situation variables in the present study they also are reviewed prior to stating specific hypotheses. The major hypotheses are: 1) that the state anxiety of subjects with scores on the internal side of the continuum of the Rotter I-E Scale is significantly related to their internal characteristic of trait anxiety; and 2) that the state anxiety of subjects with scores on the external side of the continuum of the Rotter I-E Scale is significantly related to the external situation involving different anagram tasks. A repeated measures design was employed, which assessed subjects' state anxiety under both easy and difficult anagram situations. The data were analyzed by way of a repeated measures analysis of variance. Results demonstrated that internal subjects' state anxiety was significantly related to trait anxiety, anagram tasks, and their interaction. External subjects' state anxiety was significantly related to anagram tasks. It is concluded that the internal locus-of-control construct should be accommodated to account for these results. Henceforth, an individual's perception that outcome is only partially contingent upon his own control will be termed a belief in internal control. Conversely, an individual's perception that outcome is totally non-contingent upon himself, will be termed a belief in external control. It is further concluded that the situationist model may be useful in understanding external individual's determinants of behavior. However, the interactionist model may be useful in understanding internal individual's determinants of behavior, in particular, and the ontogenetics of both internals and externals, in general. Although the psychodynamic model has promise and much in common with interactionism, it does not seem as pragmatic nor as amenable to empirical study. The trait model seems of little utility. Finally, implications for clinical practice and future research are outlined.