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ERIC Number: EJ1084501
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1085-4568
Evaluating the Study Abroad Experience Using the Framework of Rotter's Social Learning Theory
McLeod, Mark; Carter, Vince; Nowicki, Steve; Tottenham, Dana; Wainwright, Philip; Wyner, Dana
Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, v26 p30-38 Fall 2015
The goal of most if not all study abroad programs is to provide students with a set of life experiences that will broaden their perspectives and expectations and have a positive impact on the way they live and think. Over the past decade, the education abroad field has experienced tremendous growth, diversification and complexity. This expansion has included not only increased numbers of students studying abroad, but also a lens on diversity initiatives, new professional organizations dedicated to quality enhancement, development of strategic initiatives for the internationalization of higher education, and an increase of rigorous research for the field as a whole. As the study abroad field grows more sophisticated, so too does the need for empirical research to evaluate and describe the impact of this experience for students. This research study proposes to use Rotter's well-established and relevant Social Learning Theory (SLT) (Rotter, 1954, 1982) as a framework to guide and to evaluate significant components of the study abroad experience. SLT has been the stimulus for literally thousands of studies investigating a wide range of human behavior including personal adjustment and academic achievement and because it emphasizes learning as the major mechanism of behavioral change it provides an appropriate framework and perspective for evaluating individuals in study abroad programs. The purpose of the present study was to examine the impact of the study abroad experience on the participants' locus of control and self-esteem. Based on Rotter's SLT it was predicted that students who participated in study abroad would become more internal as a result of that experience. In addition, while participants' self-esteem may decrease at first as students adjust to their new surroundings, it was predicted that self-esteem should improve by the end of the experience as students learn better coping skills and how to adjust to their new environments. The participants were college undergraduates who were studying abroad (n = 100; males n = 15, females n = 85) and the comparison group of students who were taking a spring semester psychology lecture class (n = 128; males n = 27, females n = 101). The Adult Nowicki Strickland Internal External Control scale (ANSIE) was used to measure Locus of Control (Nowicki & Duke, 1974). The scale consists of 40 items that were answered yes or no. Self-Esteem was measured via the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. The experimental group was made up of three cohorts of college undergraduates, each cohort was obtained over three consecutive academic years and each consisted of students studying abroad that particular year. Results from analyses of variance provided support for the hypothesis that the study abroad experience would have a positive effect on the participants in terms of their locus of control. However, statistical analyses revealed that self-esteem was not significantly affected by the abroad experience. It was found that participants in the study abroad programs gained significantly in internal locus of control compared to their typical peers who did not participate in the experience abroad.
Frontiers Journal. Dickinson College P.O. Box 1773, Carlisle, PA 17013. Tel: 717-254-8858; Fax: 717-245-1677; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: France; Georgia; United Kingdom (Scotland)
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A