Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Does foster care affect boys differently than girls?

*External locus of control: An individual believes that his/her behaviour is guided by fate, luck, or other external circumstances.

*Internal locus of control: An individual believes that his/her behaviour is guided by his/her personal decisions and efforts.

The sample:
56 foster children from a public metropolitan social service area and 56 nonfoster children from the same community completed an external/internal locus of control scale and a brief demographic questionnaire. The male-female ratio of both groups was 28 boys and 28 girls.

The tool:
The Nowicki Strickland Internal-External Locus of Control Scale

The results:
Results indicated that female foster children experience a significantly higher external locus of control orientation. This difference was present regardless of the number of years in foster care.

Relationship between achievement and locus of control:
Other studies have demonstrated that high achievers are significantly more internal in their locus of control than comparison groups.

Please note that internal locus of control, or belief in one's one effectiveness can co-exist with low self esteem.

Speaking personally:
I have a high internal locus of control.

Speaking collectively:
Reading this research study made me concerned for other female alumni of foster care, who might think that their lives are governed by fate or chance, and because of that belief, sit idly rather than working proactively to make their lives better.

Sources:
Jackson, Sonia. Reducing risk and promoting resilience in vulnerable children. IUC Journal of Social Work, 2001/2002.
Wiehe, Vernon (2001). Locus of control in foster and nonfoster children. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 148(2), pp. 183-187.

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