The relationship between field dependence/independence, learning styles, and locus of control among registered nurses
Murphy, Patricia H.
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This study tried to determine the relationship between field dependence/independence, learning styles, and locus of control among Registered Nurses. The hypotheses were 1. Registered Nurses who demonstrate greater field independence will also demonstrate more internal locus of control and 2. Registered Nurses with more concrete learning styles will exhibit greater field independence and more internal locus of control. The 199 nonrandomized Registered Nurses completed a Demographic Data Sheet; The GEFT (Group Embedded Figures Test); the LSI (Learning Style Inventory); and the I-E (Internal-External) Scale. Variables included the GEFT score, LSI scores, IE score, position, degree, specialty, employer, age, sex, and years in nursing. Pearson correlation coefficients, ANOVA's (analysis of variance), means, and t-tests were used for data analysis with a probability of p=<0.05 as significant. The results showed that nurses tended to be field dependent; viewed themselves in the RO (Reflective Observation) mode of learning; had primarily abstract and active learning styles; and had an internal locus of control. Hospital nurses tended to have a learning style that favored Reflective Observation more than nonhospital nurses. Hospital nurses had a reflective learning mode. Nonhospital nurses had an active learning mode. There was a significant negative correlation between age, years in nursing and the GEFT score; a significant negative correlation between the GEFT score and the CE (Concrete Experience); a significant positive correlation between the GEFT score and the AC (Abstract Conceptualization) score; and a significant positive correlation between the GEFT score and the AC-CE score. The conclusions were field dependence/independence is related to the type of nursing degree held; hospital nurses favor a reflective learning mode while nonhospital nurses favor an active learning mode; as nurses get older and have more years of experience, their perceptual style becomes more field dependent; nurses who are more field independent are more abstract in their learning styles; and there are relations between learning style, and perceptual style, and locus of control depending upon age, position, specialty, and degree. Recommendations for further research include determining why the relationships between perceptual style, learning styles, and locus of control exist and what prompts them to change.
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