Explore BrainMass

What is Locus of Control? Internal versus external locus of control

Please explain what is meant by internal versus external locus of control, including any pertinent considerations from social learning. How does locus of control relate to health (physical and/or mental)?

Solution Preview

Locus of Control refers to an individual's perception about the underlying main causes of events in his/her life. The concept was developed originally Julian Rotter in the 1950s (Rotter, 1966).

The full name Rotter gave the construct was Locus of Control of Reinforcement. In giving it this name, Rotter was bridging behavioural and cognitive psychology. Rotter's view was that behaviour was largely guided by "reinforcements" (rewards and punishments) and that through contingencies such as rewards and punishments, individuals come to hold beliefs about what causes their actions. These beliefs, in turn, guide what kinds of attitudes and behaviours people adopt. Locus of control is conceptualised as referring to a unidimensional continuum, ranging from external to internal:

External Locus of Control

Individual believes that his/her behaviour is guided by fate, luck, or other external circumstances

Internal Locus of Control

Individual believes that his/her behaviour is guided by his/her personal decisions and efforts.

In general, it seems to be psychologically healthy to perceive that one has control over those things which one is capable of influencing.

In simplistic terms, a more internal locus of control is generally seen as desirable. Having an Internal locus of control can also be referred to as "self-agency", "personal control", "self-determination", etc. Research has found the following trends:

- Males ...

Solution Summary

Internal versus external locus of control is discussed in 862 words, along with how a person's perception of control relates to psychological and physical health. Considerations from social learning theory are also explained,