Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 184–194 | Cite as

Locus of Control and Peer Relationships Among Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, and African American Adolescents

  • Hannah Soo Kang
  • Kyle Edward Chang
  • Chuansheng Chen
  • Ellen Greenberger
Empirical Research


Past research has shown that locus of control plays an important role in a wide range of behaviors, such as academic achievement and positive social behaviors. However, little is known about whether locus of control plays the same role in minority adolescents’ peer relationships. The current study examined ethnic differences in the associations between locus of control and peer relationships in early adolescence using samples from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS-K: 5,612 Caucasian, 1,562 Hispanic, 507 Asian, and 908 African-American adolescents) and the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS: 8,484 Caucasian, 1,604 Hispanic, and 860 Asian, and 1,228 African American adolescents). Gender was approximately evenly split in both samples. The results from the two datasets were highly consistent. Significant interactions between ethnicity and locus of control indicated that having a more internal locus of control was particularly important for Caucasian students’ peer relationships (ECLS-K) and social status (NELS), but less so for Asian, Hispanic, and African American students. Our findings suggest that the role of locus of control in peer relationship is contingent upon culture.


Culture Ethnicity Peer relationships Locus of control Adolescence 


Author contributions

HK conceived of the study. HK and CS participated in the statistical analyses of the data. HK, CS, KC, and EG participated in the interpretation of the data and drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hannah Soo Kang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kyle Edward Chang
    • 1
  • Chuansheng Chen
    • 1
  • Ellen Greenberger
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California, IrvineIrvineUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychology and Social BehaviorUniversity of California, IrvineIrvineUSA

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