Demographic Determinants of Locus of Control among Medical Students in a Nigerian University
Background: Locus of control (LOC) plays a major role in many aspects of human behaviour such as achievement mot ivat ion, success-orientation, self-control, social adjustment, independence and expectancy. This paper examined the demographic factors that determine locus of control among medical students in a Nigerian university.
Methods: This study utilized across - sectional design . Participants were drawn from two successive sets of final year medical students of 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 academic sessions of University of Benin. The Levenson Multidimensional Locus of Control Inventory and a Socio - demographic data collection sheet were used to collect data from 262 (183 males and 79 females) students selected through convenience sampling. Data were th analyzed using the 16th version of the SPPS. Percentages, means, t-test and ANOVA were performed and the statical level of significance was set at P<0.05.
Results: The male students had higher means scores than the female students on all the three dimensions of LOC. There were statistically significant differences between male and female students on the internal LOC and powerful other subscales (p= 0.007 and 0.048 respectively). The older students (> 26 years) recorded higher and slightly higher means scores than the younger students (< 26 years) on the internal LOC and the powerful others subscales respectively, while the younger students had slightly higher means score on the chance control subscale. There was no statistically significant difference between the older and the younger students in any of the LOC domains ( internal LOC, p= 0.293, chance subscale, p= 0.848, and powerful others subscale, p= 0.814). Students who were single recorded higher means score than the married students on all the LOC subscales but marital status had significant influence on only the internal LOC dimension (p = 0.007). Ethnicity did not have statistically significant influence on any of the LOC dimensions.
Conclusion: The findings of this study show that sex has significant influence on internal LOC and powerful others control while mar i tal s tatus significantly influence internal LOC. These findings could be of immense benefit to senior medical educators, mental health professionals, and counsellors, intending to improve the competence of future medical practitioners, help them cultivate the right mental attitude and a strong internal LOC.
Keywords: Locus of control, sex, age, marital status, ethnicity, medical students