Don't Tell me What to do! The Role of Perceived Control in Children's Life Satisfaction

Gruenewald, John M.
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
Prior research has asserted that relatedness, connectedness, and autonomy are directly related to a person's overall life satisfaction. This notion has been examined for various adult groups. However, there has not been any significant research to examine this construct in relation to school-aged children. Furthermore, prior research has look at how this notion of autonomy is related to life satisfaction but no statistically pertinent research has investigated how impact this construct is on overall life satisfaction for students. This research investigated the effect of perceived control (feelings of autonomy) has on a student's overall life satisfaction. Previous research has looked at certain demographic variables impact on perceived control with only minor positive outcomes. This research examined the relationship between three demographic variables (ethnicity, gender, and age) have on reports of control. Results indicated that there is a relationship between student perceptions of control and overall student life satisfaction. Students reported high levels of satisfaction when they viewed themselves as having a sense of control when at school. Furthermore, there appears to be a relationship among a person's cultural identity and his/her age and perceptions of control. No interaction between gender and perceived control was reported in this study. When combined, age and gender appear to have an influence on a person's reports of control. Finally, a three-way interaction between cultural identity, age, and gender was seen on reports of control. Conclusions drawn from this study are that individuals who report high senses of control also report higher levels of happiness or life satisfaction. Demographic variables can then influence reports of a sense of control in variations depending on which variables are looked at in connection to one another.
vii, 66 leaves
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