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Congratulations to Jean Golding on recent funding success with the John Templeton Foundation.

11 August 2015

Professor Jean Golding has been awarded £294,042 from the John Templeton Foundation, titled “Internal Locus of Control: Origins, Determinants, and Benefits"

Locus of control (LOC) refers to the connections individuals perceive between their behavior and what happens to them. If they perceive such a connection they are said to be internally controlled; but if they see the outcome as due to luck, fate or chance, they are deemed to be externally controlled. Though LOC is a scientifically based concept originally introduced by Rotter in 1966, its roots lie in the historical debates that have gone on for millennia concerning beliefs in free will and/or fate in determining human behavior. Even though researchers have found an internal orientation to be related positively to most important aspects of human life including academic achievement, physical and mental health, self-concept and economic success, and, in one study of 84 countries, to happiness, surprisingly little is known about how internal and external orientations develop, their stability over time or what can be done to change them. Such information is becoming even more crucial because over the past 30 years the average locus of control score for adults and children has become significantly more external. We need to know why this is happening and what can be done to change this negative trend. The data set to be used in this project, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), presents a unique opportunity to provide answers to these concerns. It is the only one in the world that includes longitudinal assessments of LOC for children and for their parents that are linked to relevant outcome measures. ALSPAC involves ~14000 children and their parents. The parents completed LOC scales during pregnancy, and then 6 and 18 years later, and the child completed scales at 8 and 16y. We will first analyze the information on the parents to raise hypotheses and then test those hypotheses using the fine detail on the children. Studying how LOC develops and changes over time will provide critical information on how to foster the growth of internality.

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