Abstract

Locus of control in 13 nondisabled and 8 congenitally physically disabled adolescents was examined with the use of the Nowicki-Strickland Locus of Control Scale for Children (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973a). All subjects with disabilities had IQs within normal limits, used wheelchairs, and could communicate verbally. The two groups were matched in IQ, age, sex, race, and socioeconomic status. It was hypothesized that the locus of control scores for the disabled group would evidence significantly more externality than the scores for the nondisabled group. A Mann Whitney U test was done to analyze the data gathered, and the results were found to be statistically nonsignificant (U = 58.50, p = .635). Adjunct analyses were conducted to explore the percentage of internal and external answers between the two groups. Race was the only variable correlating significantly with locus of control scores (r = .54, p = .05). The study’s results suggest that disability is not a significant predictor of externality in adolescents. Persons with an internal locus of control are more assertive and better able to cope with their environment; occupational therapists can offer many therapeutic strategies to persons with an external locus of control for improved function and quality of life.

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