Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Joseph LaVoie

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard Wikoff

Third Advisor

Dr. Gary Larsen

Fourth Advisor

Dr. David Kapel


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relative effectiveness of three training programs on internality in an academic setting and a generalized setting and on reflectivity-impulsivity. The training procedures consisted of behavioral intervention, achievement training, and a combination of the two. The subjects were 48 first and fifth grade children (24 in each grade) from a largely middle-class school. Each of the three treatment groups consisted of four males and four females who were assigned to the groups on the basis of a median split performed on pretest Intellecutal Achievement Responsibility test scores. A group of eight students from each grade served as a control. The total training period lasted for six-weeks, with two 20-minute sessions each week at each grade level. The behavioral intervention training program focused on students' self analysis of school related behaviors, and a self-constructed behavioral change program. The achievement training program used typical achievement motivation training procedures, including modeling and the use of low-anxiety games, to demonstrate problem solving techniques. The combination program consisted of one behavioral analysis and one achievement training session each week. An immediate posttest and delayed posttest at six weeks were used to assess the effects of the training procedures. For the first grade subjects, the three treatments were effective in increasing internality, but the combination treatment was the most effective in increasing internality on the IAR for the fifth graders. The changes on the Total I score were greater for the first graders when compared to the control group. The major change component in both grades was the I Minus score on which the students increased in their assumption of responsibility for negative events. The mean scores for the Nowicki-Strickland test, the generalized measure of locus of control, indicated that changes towards internality generalized outside the specifically academic environment tested by the IAR. Substantial changes in latency scores on the Matching Familiar Figures Test showed a treatment effect for both grade levels in increasing reflectivity. Overall, the results suggest that internality in elementary school students can be modified through the use of relatively short-term programs, but such programs seem to be most effective at the lower grades. Elements of these treatment programs might be included in areas of the elementary curriculum.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Gary Kinstlinger August, 1978