Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Special Education

First Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Patterson

Second Advisor

Dr. Lonnie Hannaford

Third Advisor

Dr. Abe Nicolaou

Fourth Advisor

Betty Deshler


This study compared the perceptions of locus of control (LC) in learning disabled (LD) and normal children of comparable ages by their significant others (mothers, teachers, and fathers) to the LD and normal children's perceptions of their own LC. The literature revealed that perceptions of LC by significant others influence LD children's academic performance, thereby perpetuating an academic failure cycle that follows LD children throughout their school years.

Nine research hypotheses were based on three assumptions: (a) that the perceptions of LC in LD children by their significant others would be different from those of the LD children toward themselves, (b) that the perceptions of LC in LD children by their significant others would not be different from the perceptions of LC in normal · children by their significant others, and (c) that LD children would have a more external LC orientation for total and positive LC than normal children of comparable ages.

Twenty-four LD and 26 normal subjects were randomly selected from a middle-sized, urban school district. Parents and teachers of the subjects were given the Intellectual Achievement Responsibility (IAR) instrument to complete the way they thought their children would complete it. These scores for total internality (I) for both success and failure, positive I (success), and negative I (failure) were then compared to the scores achieved on the IAR by the LD and normal subjects.

Significant results indicated the following: (a) teachers perceived LD children's LC as being more internal for total LC and positive LC than were the children's perceptions of their own LC, (b) LD children were more external for total, positive, and negative LC than were normal children of comparable ages, and (c) teachers' perceptions of their normal and LD students' LC were more internal for positive events than were mothers' perceptions of LC in their normal children and fathers' perceptions of LC in their LD children.

Implications of the results relate to helping LD children change their LC orientation to improve their academic standing, improving communication between parents and teachers, and teacher-training programs in higher education.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Campus Only