Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology


Rotter's (1966} locus of control concept has been used to validate the belief that "athletics builds character." Internality is defined as the belief that reinforcement follows or is contingent upon one's own behavior. Externality is the belief that reinforcement is controlled by forces outside oneself, and independent of one's own actions. Previous authors have suggested that athletic participation fosters the development of an internal locus of control. Results have been inconclusive. The goal of this study was to investigate the range of scores on the Internal-External Locus of Control Scale among female professional golfers. It was hypothesized that locus of control would be predictive of level of performance. Level of performance was operationalized by a performance scale including each player's average earnings per event and average strokes per round for the 1986 season through the month of July. Forty-eight members of the Ladies Professional Golf Association's tournament division participated in the study. The mean age of participants was 28.32 years. The mean number of years on the professional tour was five. The mean average earnings per event was $1865.72, and the mean average score per round was 74.76. Locus of control was found to have a null relationship with golf performance. The importance of mental strategies and performance evidenced a slight, but nonsignificant relationship. No relationship was noted between the importance of mental strategies and locus of control. Explanations for a null relationship between golf performance and locus of control include the potential need for sport-specific measures of locus of control, and a perhaps, ill conceived relationship between high performance (or achievement) and internality. The relationship of locus of control and performance may more closely resemble the theological paradigm which suggests that a belief in a sovereign God requires a balance between internal and external control since one must balance God's sovereignty with personal responsibility. It may be that a balanced locus of control is more indicative of a realistic mental perspective which recognizes the reality of personal responsibility versus unpredictable external factors in athletic performance.

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