Relationship between students' locus of control and satisfaction

Ponto, Maria T. (1999) Relationship between students' locus of control and satisfaction. British Journal of Nursing, 8(3), pp. 176-181. ISSN (print) 0966-0461


This article describes a study that was undertaken to examine the influence of the 'locus of control' (LOC) on perceived satisfaction of nursing students. LOC is an internal, dynamic capacity of an individual which influences how one deals with everyday outcomes. Rotter (1966) proposes that the degree to which people believe their lives are under their own control is an important variable of personality which varies from person to person. People with an internal orientation believe they have control over what happens to them, whereas people with an external orientation attribute what happens to them to fate, luck, chance or powerful others. Three groups of 50 students in first, second and third years of the nursing diploma course were tested on LOC (Rotter, 1966) and satisfaction (Betz et al, 1970; Pennington et al, 1989) questionnaires. It was anticipated that the students would become more internal on the LOC orientation over time and would therefore perceive greater satisfaction with time on the course. The effects of LOC on satisfaction were analysed using t-tests, analysis of variance and Pearson's product-moment correlation. Results showed that students with internal orientation on LOC perceived greater satisfaction than students with an external orientation. However, no significant differences in LOC were found between the groups. The nursing students tested were found to be more external in their LOC orientation than other student populations have been in the past. The implications of this and the other findings for future research are discussed.

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