Internal Locus of Control

What is Locus of Control?

  • The Locus of Control construct holds that individuals either;
  •              Locate the power to control events in their lives within themselves
  •              They locate the power to control events in their lives outside of themselves in other people and in other forces.
  • The figure below represents and illustrates the Locus of Control Construct.
  • Read the Latin word "locus" as the English word "location". Therefore, "locus of control" means "location of control". Locus of control refers to where a person tends to locate the control of their life, either within their control or within the control of others or of other forces.
  • Whether you are consider to be an "internal," one who tends to believe that you have control of your life, or whether you are considered to be an "external," one who believes that others control your life, is determined by your score on an attitude inventory.
  • The most widely used and recognized locus of control attitude survey is the Rotter Locus of Control Survey. To help you begin to better understand the concept of locus of control here are two items from this survey. You respond by choosing the statement with which you most agree. Try it!
The two survey items for your consideration;
  1. Becoming a success is a matter of hard work; luck has little to do with it.
  2. Getting a good job depends mainly on being in the right place at the right time.
  1. Without the right breaks, one cannot be an effective leader.
  2. Capable people who fail to become leaders have not taken advantage of their opportunities.
Your score will place you at a point on a continuum where one pole is internality and the other pole is externality. Individuals are never completely one or the other. They tend to more or less internal or external.

There are several different measures of locus of control. Some focus on different populations such as children, some employ different concepts and some focus upon specific areas such as alcoholism. The publication on the right presents 28 different measures. This publication is a free download for your use and viewing. This is A MUST READ, MUST HAVE for serious students of locus of control.

The Locus of Control construct was originally suggested by Julian Rotter in a seminal 1966 article.  Here is an APA article by Rotter discussing the early development of the construct.

Locus of Control has been discussed, refined, and researched for over 50 years. We have read and studied more than a thousand books and articles on this topic. If you wish to study this concept in depth, we recommend that you begin with the article cited below. It provides an excellent and current overview of the field of interest.  This is not a casual read.  It requires effort and concentration.  Furnham & Steele (1993).

Download 28 Measures of Locus Control
Internals are happier, healthier, and more successful in life.

Externals are less happy, more anxious, less healthy, and less successful in life


The desirability of being internal is the motivation for writing the book TEACH INTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL which tells you exactly how to teach Internal control to others.
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