The Locus of Control Scale
Psychologically hardy people tend to have an internal locus of
control. They believe that they are in control of their own lives.
In contrast, people with an external locus of control tend to see
their fate as being out of their hands.
Are you “internal” or “external”? To learn more about your
perception of your locus of control, respond to this question-
naire, which was developed by Nowicki and Strickland (1973).
1. Do you believe that most problems
will solve themselves if you just don’t
fool with them?
2. Do you believe that you can stop
yourself from catching a cold?
3. Are some people just born lucky?
4. Most of the time, do you feel that
getting good grades meant a great
deal to you?
5. Are you often blamed for things that
just aren’t your fault?
6. Do you believe that if somebody
studies hard enough he or she can
pass any subject?
7. Do you feel that most of the time it
doesn’t pay to try hard because things
never turn out right anyway?
8. Do you feel that if things start out
well in the morning, it’s going to be
a good day no matter what you do?
9. Do you feel that most of the time
parents listen to what their
children have to say?
10. Do you believe that wishing can
make good things happen?
11. When you get punished, does it
usually seem it’s for no good reason
at all?
12. Most of the time, do you find it
hard to change a friend’s opinion?
13. Do you think cheering more than
luck helps a team win?
14. Did you feel that it was nearly
impossible to change your parents’
minds about anything?
15. Do you believe that parents should
allow children to make most of their
own decisions?
16. Do you feel that when you do
something wrong there’s very
little you can do to make
it right?
17. Do you believe that most people are
just born good at sports?
18. Are most other people your age
stronger than you are?
19. Do you feel that one of the best
ways to handle most problems
is just not to think about
20. Do you feel that you have a lot of
choice in deciding who your
friends are?
Click the blank to place a check mark in either the Yes or the No
column for each question. When you are finished, click the An-
swer Key button to see your score and interpretation.
Self Assessment
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21. If you find a four-leaf clover, do
you believe that it might bring you
good luck?
22. Did you often feel that whether or
not you did your homework had
much to do with what kind of
grades you got?
23. Do you feel that when a person
your age is angry with you, there’s
little you can do to stop him or her?
24. Have you ever had a good luck charm?
25. Do you believe that whether or
not people like you depends on how
you act?
26. Did your parents usually help you
if you asked them to?
27. Have you ever felt that when people
were angry with you, it was usually
for no reason at all?
28. Most of the time, do you feel that
you can change what might happen
tomorrow by what you did today?
29. Do you believe that when bad things
are going to happen they are just going
to happen no matter what you try to
do to stop them?
30. Do you think that people can get
their own way if they just keep trying?
31. Most of the time do you find it
useless to try to get your own way
at home?
32. Do you feel that when good things
happen, they happen because of
hard work?
33. Do you feel that when somebody
your age wants to be your enemy
there’s little you can do to change
34. Do you feel that it’s easy to get
friends to do what you want them
to do?
35. Do you usually feel that you have
little to say about what you get
to eat at home?
36. Do you feel that when someone
doesn’t like you, there’s little you
can do about it?
37. Did you usually feel it was almost
useless to try in school, because most
other children were just plain smarter
than you were?
38. Are you the kind of person who
believes that planning ahead makes
things turn out better?
39. Most of the time, do you feel that
you have little to say about what your
family decides to do?
40. Do you think it’s better to be smart
than to be lucky?
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Answer Key
Interpreting Your Score
Low Scorers (0 8). About 1 respondent in 3 earns a score of from 0 to 8. Such re-
spondents tend to have an internal locus of control. They see themselves as respon-
sible for the reinforcements they attain (and fail to attain) in life.
Average Scorers (916). Most respondents earn from 9 to 16 points. Average scor-
ers may see themselves as partially in control of their lives. Perhaps they see them-
selves as in control at work, but not in their social livesor vice versa.
High Scorers (17–40). About 15% of respondents attain scores of 17 or above.
High scorers tend largely to see life as a game of chance and success as a matter of
luck or the generosity of others.
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