Degree Name

Education Specialist (EdS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Charles G. Eberly


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between family life changes, perceived stress, locus of control, gender, and the achievement of grade eleven students. A literature review revealed that adolescents report a high level of stress in a variety of situations. Changes in family life and factors at school are two of the major stressors. The research suggests that an individual with an external locus of control is more likely to experience stress than an individual with an internal locus of control. The research also suggests that a higher level of stress combined with an external locus of control is more likely to result in a lower level of achievement.

This quantitative study consisted of a sample of 119 (M = 56, F = 63) grade eleven Caucasian students from a midwestern rural community. Each subject completed three instruments including a family life change inventory, a locus of control scale, and a perceived stress measure. Scores from these instruments were compared with each student's cumulative grade point average (GPA) using Pearson product moment correlations to determine whether or not there were any statistically significant correlations for the total group and by gender.

Statistical analysis revealed that there was no apparent statistically significant correlation between family life changes and GPA, or between the perceived stress level and GPA. There was a statistically significant relationship between females with an external locus of control and a lower GPA. There was no apparent significance with the male population regarding locus of control. It was found that aptitude, as measured by a test given to the subjects during grade ten, accounted for 50.4% of the variance of the GPA data.