A Psycholinguistics Case Study: The Relations of Learned Helplessness, Locus of Control, and Attitudes towards English with Academic Success

1.237 203


Learned helplessness is the result of exposition to enduring negative and/or painful stimuli.  If somebody thinks that he has free will to do something and his behavior is related to various outcomes, his/her locus of control is internal. Otherwise, s/he is convinced that her/his behavior, emotions and thoughts are controlled by some external factors which they cannot influence. The aim of this study is to examine the impact of learned helplessness and the locus of control on overall academic success (average grades) as well as on English grades. Our sample consisted of 159 students who were at tertiary level in Balkans (from the first to the sixth year of study). The mean age of participants was M = 21.62 (SD = 1.83). There were 76 males (47.80%) and 83 females (52.20%). The measures used in this study are: Demographic Information Questionnaire, Emotional aspect of attitudes toward the English language,  Learned Helplessness Scale (LHS), and Trice’s Academic Locus of Control Scale. The results revealed that students had low levels of external locus of control and learned helplessness whereas their attitudes toward English were positive. The main part of results included the following findings: students who had low levels of learned helplessness and internal locus of control had better average grades as well as grades in English as a high school/university subject. In addition, they like English more than students with external locus of control and high levels of learned helplessness.

Anahtar kelimeler

Learned helplessness, locus of control, English as a foreign language (EFL), attitudes toward English, academic success

Tam metin:

PDF (English)


Abramson, L. Y., Seligman, M. E., & Teasdale, J. D. (1978). Learned helplessness in humans: Critique and reformulation. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 87, p. 49-74.

Ardeo, J. M. (2003). Attitude towards English and ESP acquisition as an L2 and L3 at university. IBERICA, 6, p. 109-133.

Bar-Tal, D. & Bar-Zohar, Y. (1977). The relationship between perception of locus of control and academic achievement: Review and some educational implications. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 2, p. 181-199.

Canino, F. J. (1981). Learned-helplessness theory: Implications for research in learning disabilities. J Spec Educ, 15, p. 471-484.

Cohen, S., Rothbart, M., & Phillips, S. (1976). Locus of control and the generality of learned helplessness in humans. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34, p. 1049-1056.

Fakeye, D. O. (2011). Locus of control as a correlate of achievement in English as a second language in Ibadan. The Journal of International Social Research, 4, p. 546-552.

Hiroto, D. S. (1974). Locus of control and learned helplessness. Journal of Experimenal Psychology, 102, p. 187-193.

Jain, V. (2014). 3D model of attitude. International Journal of Advanced Research in Management and Social Sciences, 3(3), p. 1-12.

Madsen, C. K. & Goins, W. E. (2002). Internal versus external locus of control: An analysis of music populations. Journal of music therapy, 39, p. 265-273.

Marsh, K. L. & Weary, G. (1995). Locus of control. In T. Manstead & M. Hewstone (Eds.), The Blackwell dictionary of social psychology (p. 381). Oxford, UK: Blackwell.

Miller, W. R. & Seligman, M. E. (1975). Depression and learned helplessness in man. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 84, p. 228-238.

Quinless, F. W. & Nelson, M. A. (1988). Development of a measure of learned helplessness. Nursing Research, 37, p. 11-15.

Trice, A. D. (1985). An Academic locus of control scale for college students. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 61, p. 1043-1046.

Valås, H. (2001). Learned helplessness and psychological adjustment: Effects of age, gender, and academic achievement. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 45, p. 71-90.

Warehime, R. G. (1972). Generalized expectancy for locus of control and academic performance. Psychological Reports, 30, p. 314.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.