locus of control & treatment compliance for child improvement, mothers with children with developmental disabilities


A potentially important variable that has received little attention in the literature is the locus of control a caregiver holds for child improvement, including its influence on the caregiver's treatment compliance and on actual child improvement. To evaluate the utility of the construct in a practice setting, 131 caregiver-child dyads were evaluated across one year. Children were approximately four years old at the first assessment, and all of them had been diagnosed with a developmental disability. Caregiver compliance to treatment (attendance at sessions and teacher ratings of their support and knowledge) was tracked, and measures of child development status and caregiver locus of control were administered. Statistical results indicated that caregiver locus of control was not significantly correlated with gains in the child's development over the year. Caregiver beliefs about whether the child or chance would be responsible for improvement were associated with lower compliance to treatment, whereas caregiver beliefs that child improvement was due to professional intervention were associated with enhanced involvement in treatment.

Original Publication Citation

Smith, T. B., Oliver, M. I., Boyce, G. C., & Innocenti, M. S. (2000). Effects of mothers' locus of control for child improvement in a developmentally delayed sample. The Journal Of Genetic Psychology: Research And Theory On Human Development, 161(3), 307-313. doi:10.1080/00221320009596713

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


US: Heldref Publications; United Kingdom : Taylor & Francis




David O. McKay School of Education


Counseling Psychology and Special Education