Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Author's Department


First Advisor

William M. Hillner


Past research concerning the personality construct of enuretic children has demonstrated conflicting results. During recent years, the concept of internal versus external locus of control has been used in extensive research dealing with personality and behavioral characteristics of various populations. However, there had not been a study involving locus of control among enuretics. One purpose of the present study was to identify locus of control and other personality and behavioral characteristics among both enuretic and "normal" (non-enuretic) children and their mothers. Another objective was to determine valuable predictors for locus of control in enuretics, locus of control in mothers of enuretics and the condition of enuresis. Finally, among the enuretic population, there was an attempt to recognize specific "types" of mother-child pairs.

The study involved 36 Caucasian middle class families, consisting of 18 enuretic children and their mothers and 18 "normal" children and mothers. The enuretic group was obtained and identified through another project carried on at the University. Organic abnormalities involved with enuresis were controlled for. Control group subjects (non-enuretic mother-child pairs) were matched to the enuretic group on the variables of age, sex, number of children in the family and the mother's age. Both groups received the following locus of control and personality test devices: Children Nowicki-Strickland Internal External (I-E) Control Scale or the Preschool and Primary Nowicki-Strickland I-E Control Scale, Adult Nowicki-Strickland I-E Control Scale, Mother Child Relationship Evaluation, Child Behavior Rating Scale and Walker Problem Behavior Identification Checklist (WPBIC).

Data was subjected to an extensive statistical analyses involving group comparisons; discriminate analysis; multiple regressions and a canotical correlation. A significant difference (p <.05) was found in regards to the mother's locus of control in which the enuretic's mothers scored more internally than the control group mothers. Also, the enuretic group was seen as having more behavior problems than the non-enuretic group as evidenced by a significantly (p <.001) higher Total score on the WPBIC, especially in respect to the Immaturity (p <.05) and Acting-out (p <.01) scales. The following set of variables significantly (p <.01) discriminated the enuretic from non-enuretic group; acting-out, locus of control of mother, immaturity, mother's overprotection, withdrawal, mother's acceptance, self adjustment, physical adjustment, mother's rejection, distractibility, mother's overindulgence and home adjustment. The following combination of scores from test subscales were the most predictive of frequency of bedwetting: Acting out, Adult Locus of Control, Disturbed Peer Relations, Home Adjustment, Acceptance and Rejection. The test subscales and demographic data most predictive of the enuretic mother's locus of control score were as follows: Childrens Locus of Control, Distractibility, Acceptance, Social Adjustment, Self Adjustment and Age of the enuretic child. The following test subscales and demographic data most predictive of the child's locus of control score were: Overindulgence, Rejection, Disturbed Peer Relations, Age of the child, School Adjustment and Physical Adjustment. Also, the findings identified two significant (p <.001, p <.01) types of enuretic children and their mothers. Enuretic children from the first type were seen as strong in self adjustment, weak in social adjustment, and tended not to act out or be immature. The mothers of these children tended to be nonrejecting; but overindulgent. Enuretic children of the second type were strong in school adjustment, internally controlled and tended not to act out; but were weak in social adjustment and had disturbed peer relations. The mothers of these children tended not to be overprotective, but were low in acceptance.

Though the findings need to be further validated, the results seem to indicate there are differences between enuretics and non-enuretics and that some of this may be influenced by the behaviors and attitudes (especially along the dimension of acceptance and rejection) of the mother. The importance of locus of control was seen in the final results of every major hypotheses except one.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.