Locus of Control (LOC)

Julian B. Rotter developed the locus of control concept in 1954, and it continues to play an important role in personality studies. In 1966, Rotter created a 13-item forced-choice scale in order to measure locus of control.

LOC basically is how you view control over your own life. People either have an internal LOC where they believe they have the power to control their own lives, or an external LOC where they believe everything in life comes from a source other than themselves (situation, luck, others, God, etc).

When something goes wrong, it’s natural to cast blame on the perceived cause of the misfortune. Where an individual casts that blame can be related, in many cases, to a psychological construct known as “locus of control.”

Most people have either an internal or external locus of control.1Those with an internal locus of control believe that their actions matter, and they are the authors of their own destiny. Those with an external locus of control attribute outcomes to circumstances or chance.

Rotter (1975) was careful to state that we should conceptualize this as a continuum between external and internal, rather than an either/or categorization. In general, healthy adults rarely believe that everything is either entirely out of our control or entirely within it.

Locus of Control vs Attribution Theory

Similar and LoC was influenced by AT but, AT is more of a social psychology perspective whereas LoC is more about individual differences.


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