ERIC Number: ED333987
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Predicting Learned Helplessness and Achievement: The Role of Locus on Control and Motivational Orientation.
Early, Diane; Barrett, Marty
This 2-year study examined the relative potency of locus of control (LOC) and motivational orientation (MO) as predictors of standardized achievement scores and learned helplessness. Also tested was the prediction that children with an extrinsic MO would be prone to adopt an external LOC over time. In the first year of the study, subjects were 158 fifth-graders; in the second year, subjects were 70 of the first-year participants. It was thought that MO should predict children's helplessness and achievement more accurately than LOC, because MO, taking into account a child's sense of control over reasons for initiating task engagement and regulating task strategies, is a more global construct than LOC, which focuses on the child's perceived internal sense of control over the outcome of the achievement situation. It was assumed that adopting an extrinsic orientation, which predisposes children to helplessness, ultimately produces an external LOC. Hypotheses were tested using self-report measures of MO, LOC, and visual discrimination problems with a failure manipulation to test for helplessness. Standardized test scores were used as an indicator of achievement. Data supported the hypotheses. The intrinsic motivation perspective better predicted achievement and helplessness than did the LOC perspective. Extrinsically motivated children were more prone to develop external loci of control than were those intrinsically motivated. Results are discussed in terms of theoretical and practical implications for researchers and educators. (RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Motivational Orientation
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Seattle, WA, April 18-20, 1991).