Locus of control influences on youth decisions and community participation

Berkland, Melva
Major Professor
Alan A. Kahler
Committee Member
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Agricultural Education and Studies

This study focused on locus of control in relation to decision-making and community participation. The objectives were to determine the control that youth think they have over their lives; assess youth's perception of their input into making decisions and being involved in the community; analyze the relationships of selected factors to locus of control; establish implications for agricultural and extension education programs to meet youth needs;The 1990 Iowa Youth Poll of 162 questions used a random sample of Iowa youth ages 13 to 18. The 545 telephone interviews averaged 18.5 minutes and documented their feelings, concerns, and perceptions about societal problems and solutions. The data from 25 items were analyzed statistically for this study using SPSS-X (1988);About 90 percent of the sample had positive locus of control scores. Means of the locus of control score were very similar for males and females. Younger respondents had lower locus of control mean scores than did older respondents. Residence had little affect on the locus of control score;Respondents reported that they had too little input to community decisions and were disappointed in the community's interest in youth. Responses indicated that teens were willing to be more involved in planning programs against drinking and drug use, but their interest seemed to exceed the opportunities they perceived for such involvement;Iowa teens perceived that drinking was more of a problem than drug use for people their ages in their communities. More farm teens in this study than expected, perceived drug use to be a problem for young people;Being female was a major factor in perceptions about involvement in community problems that affect them and their peers. More females in this study than was expected felt drinking and drug use were problems in their communities. Females were more dissatisfied with their community's interest in youth than males. Their willingness to be involved exceeded expectations. More females than would be expected, perceived opportunities to do so;Seventh graders were significantly different in their perceptions then expected. They perceived drinking and drug use to be problems at a rate greater than one might expect. They saw fewer opportunities for involvement in planning programs than would be expected.