Locus Of Control Orientation Of Preschool Children Of Low Income Families Of Various Ethnic Groups (florida)

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Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Purpose. The purpose of this study was to determine if there are ethnic differences in the locus of control orientation of preschool children of low-income families in child care programs of South Florida.This study compared the locus of control expectancy of preschool children of four ethnic groups: (1) black; (2) Haitian; (3) Spanish; and (4) Non-Spanish white.Method. A total of 83 Head Start children and 89 children from non-Head Start programs were tested for their locus of control expectancy. The Stephens-Delys Reinforcement Contingency Interview (SDRCI) was employed. Scores for girls and boys for both positive and negative events were obtained as well as total scores.A 2 x 2 x 4 multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), SPSS version, revealed differences in all comparisons. Scheffe tests for multiple comparisons were used to determine the source of the differences.Results. Differences were found among the ethnic groups tested. (1) Spanish subjects were found to have significantly higher internal scores than black and Haitian subjects for both positive and negative events. (2) There were differences between girls and boys for negative events but not for positive events. The internal scores for Spanish girls were significantly higher than for Haitian girls and boys and for black boys. (3) There were differences between the programs of Head Start and non-Head Start for positive events but not for negative events. In non-Head Start programs, Spanish subjects had significantly higher internal scores than black, Haitian and non-Spanish white, with Haitian subjects receiving the lowest scores. There were no differences in ethnicity within the Head Start program. Haitian subjects scored higher in Head Start programs than they did in non-Head Start programs, unlike the other ethnic groups.Conclusion. Head Start appears to be a great leveler. Whatever Head Start does for one ethnic group, it does for all groups. For the Haitian children, the Head Start program has a positive effect on the locus of control expectancy.Finally, Spanish girls appeared to be more willing to accept responsibility for the negative events in their lives than did the girls or boys in any other ethnic group.


Education, Early Childhood

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