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When Internality Is Not an Advantage: Locus of Control and the World Trade Center Tragedy
Unformatted Document Text:  When Internality is not An Advantage: Locus of Control and the World Trade Center Tragedy Sara E. Green Department of Sociology University of South Florida Abstract This study examines the effects of September 11on Locus of Control (LOC) and its consequences among university students in Florida. Ninety-four students participated in thestudy prior to September 11 while 129 participated in the months following the attack. There areno significant differences between the two groups of students in terms of demographiccharacteristics often associated with LOC and/or depression. Findings indicate, however, that thetwo groups differ in important ways in terms of both levels of internality and the impact ofinternality on depression. The average level of internality is significantly lower in the groupparticipating after September 11. In addition, results of multiple regression analysis indicate that,as expected from previous research, in the pre-tragedy group, internality exerts a significantnegative influence on depression while belief in powerful others is significantly positively relatedto depression. Among students who participated after September 11, the patterns of relationshipsare startlingly different. None of the LOC dimensions has a significant main affect ondepression. When the interaction terms are added to the equation, however, both internality andpowerful others are associated with increased depression. Further, the internality X powerfulothers interaction term is significant and negative--indicating that the positive impact ofinternality on depression is strongest when belief in the affect of powerful others is low. Thesefindings have important implications for the application of Locus of Control theory in situationsin which the life experiences of individuals have been dramatically affected by the actions ofothers.

Authors: Green, Sara.
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When Internality is not An Advantage: Locus of Control and the World Trade Center
Tragedy
Sara E. Green
Department of Sociology
University of South Florida
Abstract
This study examines the effects of September 11on Locus of Control (LOC) and its
consequences among university students in Florida. Ninety-four students participated in the
study prior to September 11 while 129 participated in the months following the attack. There are
no significant differences between the two groups of students in terms of demographic
characteristics often associated with LOC and/or depression. Findings indicate, however, that the
two groups differ in important ways in terms of both levels of internality and the impact of
internality on depression. The average level of internality is significantly lower in the group
participating after September 11. In addition, results of multiple regression analysis indicate that,
as expected from previous research, in the pre-tragedy group, internality exerts a significant
negative influence on depression while belief in powerful others is significantly positively related
to depression. Among students who participated after September 11, the patterns of relationships
are startlingly different. None of the LOC dimensions has a significant main affect on
depression. When the interaction terms are added to the equation, however, both internality and
powerful others are associated with increased depression. Further, the internality X powerful
others interaction term is significant and negative--indicating that the positive impact of
internality on depression is strongest when belief in the affect of powerful others is low. These
findings have important implications for the application of Locus of Control theory in situations
in which the life experiences of individuals have been dramatically affected by the actions of
others.


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