EFFECT OF GENDER AND LOCUS OF CONTROL ON THE PSYCHOLOGICAL WELLBEING OF DISTANCE LEARNING STUDENTS
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Locus of control is a personality construct developed by Julian B. Rotter in 1966, which refers to an individual’s perception of the locus of events as determined internally by his or her behaviour versus fate, luck or external circumstances (Ziegler, 2006). It is a belief about whether the outcomes of individual’s action are contingent on what we do or on events outside our personal control. Locus of control is equally the degree to which individuals believe that things that happen to them are due to internal versus external factors. These beliefs are rooted in individual’s actions and behavior.
Locus of control plays a major role in one’s perception of situation and possible reactions on what is happening or should be happening. This has the ability of influencing one’s reactions to situations that are considered unacceptable. Individuals with internal locus of control believe that they can influence the outcomes of their lives. They also attribute their achievements in life to their skills, abilities and knowledge. They take pride in good outcomes and feel disappointed in bad outcomes (Bassey & Ezeh, 2005). A person with dominant external locus of control is convinced that anything that happens is the result of fate, luck or external powers and these believe often cause feelings of anger, frustration, depression and aggression (Swart, 2004).
Psychological wellbeing refers to how life goes for a particular person. It is a cognitive judgmental process which gives an evaluation of a person’s life satisfaction according to his chosen criteria (Shin, 2012). This judgment of how satisfied an individual is with his state of affairs is based on comparison with a standard he sets for himself (Diener, 1984).
The ability of a student to successfully transform his learning to strength to achieve this intention and have an improved quality of life is dependent on his resolution and his ability to adopt a system that harmonizes a relationship between his internal and external self and environment facilities that are made available within his learning context. In other words, it is germane that the learner should be accustomed to factors that could hinder such achievement and make conscious effort to effectively blend them to his advantage despite the challenges that he may encounter in his quest to do so because the extent to which a learner succeeds in his academics has important implications on his psychological success. (Bouchey, etal 2010).
Scholars like Nevetuah (2008) opined that although everyone has an opinion about their psychological wellbeing but no one knows precisely what it means in general. In consonance with this, Shin (2012) added that this individualistic opinion of psychological wellbeing might even be an “idiosyncratic mysteries” which is conditioned in levels of variability in individuals. The concept was further corroborated by Lawton (1990), as involving a multi-dimensional evaluation of both intrapersonal and social normative criteria of an individual in the past, current and anticipated which he concluded is ultimately decided by his objective and subjective dimensions of his psychological well-being.
Early researchers inferred the psychological wellbeing of individuals through objective and subjective indicators with specific socially desirable responses to assess living conditions which may be in respect of the percentage of the unemployed labour force and crime rates. It may also be in terms of material well-being, health, productivity, intimacy, safety and emotional wellbeing. These indicators are satisfaction weighted by their importance to the individuals and also normative to a population or group (Cummins, 1997). Thus, where one individual may access his life as a whole by focusing on his employment status, another individual may focus his assessment on his relationships with family and friends.
The position of Cummins (1997) was supported by Bouchey, etal (2010) who proposed that the individual conceptualization of the psychological wellbeing depends on subjective evaluation, functional expression and emotional evaluation. Further related contributions by Swart (2004) who added as basic material needs are met, individuals move to a materialistic phase in which they are concerned with self-fulfillment and more attainment and concluded that psychological wellbeing should be considered on the basis of positive indicators like “ a basic satisfaction with oneself and one’s existence or life satisfaction”.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
For long, attention of researchers, psychotherapist, psychologists, clinicians and social workers have focused more on psychological wellbeing of individuals thereby paying less attention to its vital definite determinants such as locus of control and gender-related factors. This has however created a big service information gap on the psychological wellbeing experienced by individuals most especially students. However, very few researchers have evaluated the effect of gender and locus of control as predictors of psychological wellbeing of individuals. This problem necessitates the need for the study.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of the study are:
To examine the effect of gender on the psychological wellbeing of distance learning students.
To examine the relationship between locus of control and psychological wellbeing of distance learning students.
To examine the main and independent effect of gender and locus of control on the psychological wellbeing of distance learning students.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The study attempts to provide satisfactory answers to the following research questions.
What is the effect of gender on the psychological wellbeing of distance learning students?
What is the nature of the relationship between locus of control and psychological wellbeing of distance learning students?
What are the main and independent effect of gender and locus of control on psychological wellbeing of distance learning students?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
Three (3) hypotheses were formulated based in the study based on the research questions.
H0: Gender has no significant effect on the psychology wellbeing of distance learning students.
H1: Gender has significant effect on the psychology wellbeing of distance learning students.
H0: There is no significant relationship between locus of control and psychological wellbeing of distance learning students.
H1: There is significant relationship between locus of control and psychological wellbeing of distance learning students.
H0: Gender and locus of control have no main and independent effect on the psychological wellbeing of distance learning students.
H1: Gender and locus of control have no main and independent effect on the psychological wellbeing of distance learning students.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is believed that this study will be of immense benefits to students, clinicians, psychologists, sociologists, medical practitioners and future researchers. The study through its findings will adequately improve the mental capability, cognitive development and psychological wellbeing of the students which will further lead to improvement in all facets of their life.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is delineated to examine the effect of gender and locus of control on the psychological wellbeing of distance learning students with strong emphasis on distance learning students in the University of Ibadan.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
During the course of carrying out the study, several limitations were encountered:
Financial Constraint: Due to the paucity of funds, the study covered only distance learning students in the University of Ibadan.
Time Constraint: A relatively short time was given to conduct a study of this magnitude in addition to other academic commitment of the researcher.
Unwillingness of the Respondents: Majority of the respondents were unwillingly to participate in the survey because they feel that is an intrusion to their personal life. Nevertheless, a robust and fact-finding study was carried out.
The study adopted the survey research design in conjunction with the purposive sampling technique to select 500 (Males =50; Female=50) distance learning students in the University of Ibadan. Two research instruments- the Rotter’s Locus of Control Scale and the Ryff’s Psychological Wellbeing Scale, were used to generate data from the respondents. Furthermore, descriptive statistics analysis, Pearson product correlation technique, the analysis of the variance, and multiple regression analysis were employed to test the stated hypothesis.
The study was premised on the axiom that:
All respondents selected are distance learning students in the University of Ibadan.
All the information obtained from the respondents is true, accurate and genuine.
1.11 DEFINITON OF TERMS
Gender: The biological sex of an individual usually male or female.
Locus of Control: This refers to the degree to which people believe that they have control over the outcome of events in their lives, as opposed to external forces beyond their control.
Psychological Wellbeing: It is the combination of positive affective states such as happiness and functioning with optimal effectiveness in social and individual life. People with high psychological wellbeing feel happy, well supported and are satisfied with life.
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