Brown Locus of Control Scale

Brown, R. (1990). The construct and concurrent validity of the social dimension of the Brown Locus of Control Scale. Educational and Psychological Measurement 50:377–82.

Comments: The 25-item Brown Locus of Control Scale (BLOCS) assesses three aspects of control: internal (the person feels personal control), external social (the individual feels controlled by social interaction aspects, including social groups, work, and friends), and external other (the person feels controlled by chance, fate, or any other abstract authority).

Sample: The sample for the 1983 study consisted of 114 female graduate students. In addition, five additional samples from five other studies are presented.

Reliability: Alpha coefficients were 0.74 (internal), 0.71 (external social), and 0.66 (external other). Test-retest reliability over a two-week period with 92 students from the original sample was 0.88 (internal), 0.91 (external social), and 0.84 (external other).

Validity: Evidence for concurrent validity is provided in the numerous studies described that compared the results of the BLOCS with various psychological factors. The data reported in the 1990 study represents a compilation of various samples.

Factor Analysis: A three-factor solution was accepted. The factors are: internal (4, 9, 13, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, and 25); external social (1, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, and 23); and external others (2, 3, 5, 12, 17, 18, and 24).

Data Analysis: The means and standard deviations for the three BLOCS dimensions in five additional studies are presented.


Brown, R. (1983). Locus of control and sex role orientation of women graduate students. College Student Journal 17:10–12. Brown, R., and Marcoulides, G. A. (1996). A cross-cultural comparison of the Brown Locus of Control Scale. Educational and Psychological Measurement 56:858–63.

Levenson, H. (1974). Activism and powerful others: Distinctions within the concept of an internal-external control. Journal of Personality Assessment 38:377–83.

Rotter, J. B. (1966). Generalized expectancies for internal vs. external control of reinforcement. Psychological Reports 56:723–26.

Brown Locus of Control Scale

1. My friendships depend on how well I relate to others.
2. Accidental happenings have a lot to do with my life.
3. Rules and practices that have been around for many years should determine what will happen to my life.
4. I am fairly able to determine what will happen to my life.

5. Religious faith will get me through hard times.
6. The government will run whether I get involved or not.
7. Getting ahead is a matter of pleasing people in power.
8. Generally it’s not what I know, but who I know.
9. I make mistakes—accidents just don’t happen.
10. Being in the right place at the right time is important for my success.
11. My friends often determine my actions.
12. The ideas about life that have been around since time began have an influence on my life.
13. Most of the time, I control what happens in my life.
14. Strong pressure groups determine my role in society.
15. My plans will not work unless they fit into the plans of those in power.
16. My close relationships with people don’t just happen—they need to be worked on.
17. Some powerful force or person predetermined most of what happens in my life.
18. My life is often affected by fate.
19. My actions determine my life.
20. Hard work will get me where I want to go.
21. I can generally take care of my personal interests.
22. I have to work with others to get a job done.
23. My ability without pleasing people in power makes little difference.
24. My life is often affected by luck.
25. I can usually carry out plans that I make for myself.

Scoring: 6 = Very Strongly Agree; 5 = Strongly Agree; 4 = Agree; 3 = Disagree; 2 = Strongly Disagree; and 1 = Very Strongly Disagree. Each scale is scored separately by summing the responses for that scale. Comparisons can be made for each scale, but not across scales.