Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


Educational Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Donna J. Habenicht

Second Advisor

Robert C. Fadeley

Third Advisor

John B. Youngberg


Problem. Harsh punishment has been recognized as an antecedent of external locus of control. External locus of control has been associated with negative aspects of academic and social development. Educators in Africa need to know if caning is associated with external locus of control.

Method. This study was an ex post facto design. The population was 732 African students between the ages of 17 and 31 years in their third or final year of secondary school or first or second year of college. All students were from Seventh-day Adventist schools located in the English-speaking African countries of Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Practically the entire population classified themselves as Christian (67% Seventh-day Adventist, 33% other faiths). Extreme groups consisting of (1) those who reported they had been caned as often as once a week at home or school (2) and those who reported they had been caned less than once a year (76 and 107 respectively) were compared for differences in Rotter I-E scores, with age and educational level controlled, by means of ANCOVA. Nine one-way ANCOVA tests were run with a separate covariate (sex, mother's education, nationality, social environment, sex of the punitive agent, household types, and time periods of caning) each added to age and educational level.

Results. Frequent caning was significantly related (p_ = .0059) to external locus of control with age and educational level controlled. This supported the experimental hypothesis in the direction anticipated. Only sex and educational level were significant as covariates. Neither of these, however, accounted for a meaningful portion of the differences in I-E scores related to frequency of caning.

Conclusions. Caning surfaced as the variable most closely related to external locus of control.

Subject Area

Corporal punishment--Africa, School discipline--Africa.

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