American University
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Locus-of-control, age, and education as correlates to satisfaction with foreign service life in a sample of foreign service spouses

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posted on 2023-08-04, 15:18 authored by April Peck Herbert

This study proposes to (a) ascertain the relationship of locus of control, age, and educational level to extent of satisfaction with Foreign Service life in a sample of female spouses of American Foreign Service employees assigned to the United States embassies in La Paz, Bolivia; Havana, Cuba; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and Managua, Nicaragua, and (b) to interpret the findings for their meaning to prospective spouses and to U.S. Department of State personnel responsible for spouse and family support programs, such as Overseas Briefing Center, Family Liaison Office, and Community Liaison Officers. The Rotter Internal-External Locus of Control Scale, the Foreign Service Spouse Satisfaction Inventory, and a Personal Data Inventory were used respectively to assess internal or external locus-of-control orientation; satisfaction with the mobility, sociocultural, and personal aspects of Foreign Service life; and personal characteristics such as age and education. These instruments were completed by 89 Foreign Service spouses from the above embassy communities during October/November 1992. Statistical analysis using t tests indicated no significant differences (p $<$.05) in mean satisfaction with Foreign Service life scores between those subjects with internal versus external locus of control, between those subjects "under age 35" or "age 35 and over," or between those subjects with "less than a bachelor's degree" versus those subjects with a "bachelor's degree or higher." Analysis of variance results indicated that internal spouses "age 35 and over" and spouses with "less than a bachelor's degree" did not show the highest level of satisfaction with Foreign Service life, indicating that education and locus of control and age and locus of control did not interact to have an effect on satisfaction with Foreign Service life. Correlational analysis indicated that satisfaction with Foreign Service life was not found to be significantly correlated with locus of control. The writer concluded that the complexity of Foreign Service life is such as to preclude prediction of satisfaction of the female spouse with it on the basis of a variable or variables considered individually. Such prediction would be better made on the basis of a number of variables considered in combination with each other.







Ph.D. American University 1993.


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