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The IE-4: Construction and Validation of a Short Scale for the Assessment of Locus of Control

[phd thesis]

Kovaleva, Anastassiya

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Corporate Editor GESIS - Leibniz-Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Abstract Kontrollüberzeugung beschreibt eine generalisierte Erwartung, ob die Verhaltensergebnisse von einer Person selbst kontrolliert werden oder von Kräften außerhalb der persönlichen Kontrolle. Soziowissenschaftliche und psychologische Studien zeigten über Jahrzehnte, dass Kontrollüberzeugung mit physischem und mentalem Wohlbefinden, berufsbezogenem Verhalten, allgemeiner Gesundheit und gesundem Altwerden sowie Umgang mit Verlust von Arbeit korreliert. Die vorliegende Arbeit beschäftigt sich mit der Entwicklung und Validierung einer Vier-Item-Skala zur Messung von Kontrollüberzeugung (die Skala Internale-Externale-Kontrollüberzeugung-4, IE-4). Die IE-4 ist für den Einsatz unter engen zeitlichen Bedingungen, z.B. in Survey-Forschungen, gut geeignet. Die Entwicklung und Validierung der IE-4 basieren auf drei Studien. Die stabile faktorielle Struktur und Konstruktvalidität der Skala werden belegt. Abschließend werden psychometrischen Kennwerte und Kürze der Skala diskutiert.

Locus of control defines a personal belief about whether outcomes of behavior are determined by one’s actions or by forces outside one’s control. This personality trait has been shown to have an impact on human behavior across a wide spectrum of social situations. Due to its link to education, general health, overall life satisfaction and other important variables of social research issues, it is interesting not only for psychological but also for sociological research questions. Locus of control is often used in survey research to predict such complex phenomena as social commitment, political participation, unemployment, vocational behavior, well-being or health issues, etc. However, the established German scales for locus of control comprise between twenty and thirty items or more. Given the strict time constraints to which social surveys are subject, such lengthy assessment tools are generally unsuitable for survey research. Hence, surveys such as the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) use self-developed scales to assess locus of control. However, such self-developed scales are not always thoroughly validated. Therefore, a new standardized and validated short scale measure is called for that caters for research settings with strict time constraints. This thesis addresses this need. Taking into consideration the theoretical background of the established scales assessing locus of control and the empirical results of the scales used in German surveys, a standardized measure – the four-item scale for the assessmet of locus of control (IE-4) ‑ was constructed. The thesis describes the construction of the IE-4 with the help of a pilot study (N=201) and cognitive interviews, and its validation in an extended sample (N=539). The work concludes with a discussion of the efficiency of the IE-4, i.e. its brevity and satisfactory psychometric properties.
Keywords locus of control; scale construction; measurement instrument; psychological factors; personality traits; survey; survey research; psychometrics; social factors; demographic factors; behavior; expectation
Classification Methods and Techniques of Data Collection and Data Analysis, Statistical Methods, Computer Methods
Document language English
Publication Year 2012
City Köln
Page/Pages 130 p.
Series GESIS-Schriftenreihe, 9
ISSN 1869-2869
ISBN 978-3-86819-017-5
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications