The main aim of this study was to determine whether the locus of control construct could be used to predict academic success. The study differentiated between short-term academic success (successful completion of the first year of study) and long-term academic success (successful completion of pre-graduate degree). Both generalised and domain specific locus of control measurements were used to determine which of these correlate with academic success. A further aim was to investigate the role of self esteem and level of defensiveness in the relationship between locus of control and academic achievement. Four measurement instruments were administered to an effective sample of 53 first year students at the University of Pretoria. The measurement instruments were the Internal, Powerful other and Chance Scales (Levenson, 1981), the Multi-dimensional, Multi-attributional Causality Scale (Lefcourt, 1981), the Social Desirability Scale (Crowne&Marlowe, 1960) and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1965). The statistical analyses consisted of descriptive statistics and correlational analyses. Analysis of the data showed no significant correlation between locus of control and academic achievement for the group as a whole but did show a significant positive correlation between long-term academic success and generalised internality among black students. The data further showed a significant negative correlation between self esteem and long-term academic success. Self esteem correlated positively with an external orientation in both black and white students. The only significant predictor of academic success among white students was social desirability.
Dissertation (MA (Research Psychology))--University of Pretoria, 2005.