About this Research Topic
Rotter introduced the construct of locus of control of reinforcement, a generalized problem - solving expectancy reflecting the perceived connection between behaviours and outcomes, as a significant concept within his social learning theory. The construct he introduced and the significant number of research studies it stimulated have been theoretically, empirically and practically impactful. The idea of locus of control though attractive has also been elusive to pin down, as shown by the hundreds of definitions have been offered to define it and a similar number of scales used to measure it.
Unfortunately, as a consequence of the lack of an agreed definition of locus of control, “locus of control” measures have often been created by selecting items used to measure other constructs and/or results from past studies using different definitions; scales are rarely evaluated for their convergent or discriminative validity with one another. Rotter is usually referenced, but descriptions of his theory or his basic definition of the locus of control of reinforcement as a problem-solving expectancy often are lacking. Because of this, attribution and self-efficacy theories may erroneously be used interchangeably with social learning theory.
The result of the chaos created by theoretical and measurement looseness is that despite the thousands of published studies, it is difficult to conclude with any certainty what is known about Rotter’s basic theoretical construct of locus of control of reinforcement.
We encourage researchers to pursue studies of locus of control consistent with Rotter’s approach. This is the purpose of the present call for research studies consistent with Rotter’s definition especially those that focus on clarifying antecedents, and consequences of locus of control expectancies in children and adults and describing interventions shown to change locus of control orientations. Studies that include diverse participants and longitudinal data are especially valued.
Keywords: Locus of Control, Rotter, Interventions, Antecedents, Consequences
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