Using an abbreviated version of Levenson's (1981) locus of control scale, we examine change over time in the locus of control of displaced steelworkers. The first data collection occurred approximately six months after plant shutdown, the second occurred a year later. Utilizing a multidimensional measurement model, we test the major assumption that locus of control is a stable personality characteristic. The results of our analysis suggest that the measurement model is stable over time. However, we find evidence that locus of control changes over time. We argue that heightened perceptions of both internal and external control among men forced into unemployment may in part be a function of the reference group to which workers compare their perceived success or failure. Moreover, locus of control may be a function of the reality of institutional constraints in the face of unemployment.


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pp. 1521-1537
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