ARE EDUCATED UNEMPLOYED YOUTH IN INDIA EXTERNALLY ORIENTED? LAL BAHADUR...
ARE EDUCATED UNEMPLOYED YOUTH
IN INDIA EXTERNALLY ORIENTED?
LAL BAHADUR SINGH, ARUN KUMAR SINGH AND ARVIND
KUMAR SINGH
A randomly selected group of 400 educated youth were equally divided into
professional unemployed, non-professional unemployed, professional employed,
and non-professional employed and were administered Singh and Rani's (1990)
Internal-External Control's Scale. This was done in order to investigate in them
the degree of internal and external orientation, both at macro and micro levels.
Results of a statistical comparison revealed that both the groups of professionality
and non-professionally educated unemployed youth, as compared to the same
brand of their employed counterparts, were relatively less internally oriented and
more externally directed. Also, the study revealed all of them as having a clear
tendency to score higher on the items employed to measure external control, and
thus, indicated them to be highly externally controlled, notwithstanding the fact
that the unemployed, particularly the professionally educated unemployed, were
found to be relatively more vulnerable to externality.
Dr. Lal Bahadur Singh is a Reader in the Department of Psychology, T.M.
Bhagalpur University, Bhagalpur; Dr. Arun Kumar Singh is a Lecturer in the
Department of Psychology, Evening College, Bhagalpur and; Dr. Arvind Kumar
Singh is Reader and Head, Department of Psychology, Evening College, Bha-
galpur.

Introduction
This study was primarily designed to ascertain the degree of internal
and external orientation — the significant predictors of psychological
well-being (Archer, 1979; Lefcourt, 1982; O'Brien, 1984a, 1984b,
1986; Spector, 1982) in professionally and non-professionally edu-
cated unemployed youth as against the same category of their em-
ployed counterparts. A good amount of evidence accumulated from
research studies over the last few years indicate that unemployed
persons tended to be relatively more externally oriented (Feather and

564 Lal Bahadur Singh
Barber, 1983; Layton, 1986, 1987; O'Brien, 1984b; O'Brien and
Kabanoff, 1979; Patton and Noller, 1984). Other recent studies, par-
ticularly those conducted by Feather and O'Brien, the Australian
psychologists, also furnished a similar conclusion. For example,
Feather and O'Brien (1986a; 1986b), on the basis of their longitudinal
studies, revealed that the unemployed expressed an increased tendency
to blame their unemployment on factors relating to economic recession
and a decreased tendency to blame it on the lack of motivation on their
part. In a similar vein, O'Brien and Feather (1990) found that the
unemployed person had a higher external control, particularly in
comparison to those who were suitably employed. Recently, Rani
(1993) and Singh, Singh and Singh (1995), in their studies into the
psychological well-being of the technically and non-technically unem-
ployed and employed youth in India, also reported that both groups of
the unemployed, as compared to their employed counterparts, were
relatively more externally oriented. However, the employed youth
were also found to have a fair amount of externality, lending support
to the conclusion of Faroqi (1984) and indicating it as one of the typical
characteristics of an Indian.
Contrary to the above-mentioned findings, Dumont (1977) and
Liem (1988) observed the unemployed as internalising the blame for
their unemployment. Tiggemann and Winefield (1984) and Winefield
and Tiggemann (1985) recorded a decrease in the externality of about
the same amount for school-leavers, whether they became employed
or remained unemployed. The study by Linn, Sandifer and Stein,
(1985) of middle-aged American men, out of work for a period less
than six months showed no longitudinal change in the locus control
scores after job loss. Likewise, Feather and O'Brien (1986a) found no
effect of unemployment on the locus of control scores one year after
school leaving. However, externality became significantly greater one
year later among those who remained without a job.
Thus, a diversity of opinion exist regarding the direction of
control mechanism of the unemployed persons. However, in a
majority of investigations, unemployed persons were found to be
more externally oriented than their employed counterparts. The
view by O'Brien (1986) deserves mention here. He has indicated that
unemployment does not ruin a person's capacity for self-reliance, but,
instead, delimits the number of life-situations where personal control
is possible. This renders him necessarily externally controlled. It was,
therefore, justifiably inferred that the unemployed, as compared to

Educated Unemployed Youth in India 565
the employed, would be relatively more externally oriented. But, as
was apparent, efforts to understand the pattern of control orientation
in the professionally and non-professionally educated Indian unem-
ployed youth as against the same brand of their employed counterparts
being almost scarce in number, the present investigation was under-
taken.
Method
Subject
Four hundred educated youth were equally divided into: professional
unemployed; non-professional unemployed; professional employed;
and non-professional employed. These youth served as subjects in this
study. All of them were male graduates or postgraduates of 27 to 32
years of age and came from urban middle-class families having an
income of Rs. 2,500/- to Rs. 3,500/- per month. Also, only those
subjects who had been either registered as involuntary unemployed or
employed in state enterprises situated in Patna, Muzaffarpur, Kha-
garia, Bhagalpur, Ranchi, Gaya and Dhanbad cities of Bihar in Eastern
India for at least five years or more were approached for this study.
The technique of randomisation involving the procedure of sampling
with replacement was employed for the selection of the subjects.
Material
A 4-point, 26-item Internal-External Controls Scale — half of them
measuring internal and the rest external controls — developed by
Singh and Rani (1990) in Hindi was devised to elicit information about
the extent of internal and external controls in the subjects. Subjects
were asked to read each of the statements carefully, and to express their
responses towards them by selecting one of the four response alterna-
tives like fully agree (4), agree (3), disagree (2) and fully disagree (1)
as applicable to them. The possible score, one could achieve on either
of the scales, ranged between 13 and 52 with higher scores denoting
the prominence of either of the control systems in the subjects. The
Cronbach Alpha coefficients and rij for the two subscales were 0.77
(0.21) and 0.75 (0.19) for the unemployed, and 0.79 (0.23) and 0.76
(0.20) for the employed youth. The coefficient of correlation between
the two scale scores was found to be 0.04, indicating the internal and
external dimensions as independent of each other (Singh and Rani,
1990).

566 Lal Bahadur Singh
Procedure
The subjects were administered the scale, either individually or in
small group settings, after establishing a good rapport with them to
elicit sincere and candid responses in late 1992. Before responding to
the statements included in the scale, subjects were requested to go
through the instructions printed at the top of the scale. They were
allowed to take up the test only when they fully understood the
instructions. Though there was no time limit to complete the sale,
subjects were requested to finish the task within half an hour.
The subjects being convinced of the importance of the testing
programme, extended their full cooperation. This was quite evident
from their eagerness to participate in the study and from their sustained
curiosity to know about every detail of the findings of the test as well.
Results
Table 1 reports the summary of the results of a statistical comparison
among different groups of educated unemployed and employed youth
in terms of the extent of internal and external orientations in them.
Consistent with the expectations, both the professionally and the
non-professionally educated unemployed youth, as compared to the
professionally and the non-professionally educated employed youth,
were found to be relatively less internally controlled and more out-
wardly directed. However, both the groups of employed youth were
also identified as having a higher amount of external orientation and,
thus, were found to be fairly susceptible to reduced psychological
well-being. On the whole, it was the job-seekers, particularly the
professionally educated ones, who confronted a pathogenic state of
externality (76.42 per cent). Further, the results of the statistical
comparisons exclusively made between the professionally and the
non-professionally educated unemployed youth, and the profession-
ally and the non-professionally educated employed youth, in terms of
the dimensions of internality and externality, evinced no marked
difference between the two independent sets of the educated youth
except a significant difference in the degree of internality between the
professionally and non-professionally educated employed youth
(t[198] = 3.42; p < 0.01), the latter being relatively less internally
directed. Still, in order to be relatively precise in prediction, different
groups of unemployed and employed youth were again subjected to
micro analysis exclusively in terms of the measures of the dimensions

Table 1
STATISTICAL DIFFERENCES AMONG DIFFERENT GROUPS OF UNEMPLOYED AND EMPLOYED YOUTH AND
THEIR RELATIVE STANDING IN TERMS OF THE EXTENT OF INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROLS

Table 2
STATISTICAL DIFFERENCES AMONG DIFFERENT GROUPS OF UNEMPLOYED AND EMPLOYED YOUTH AND
THEIR RELATIVE STANDING IN TERMS OF DIFFERENT ITEMS OF INTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL


570 Lal Bahadur Singh
of internal and external controls. Tables 2 and 3 report the findings
obtained from the statistical comparison among different groups of
unemployed and employed youth and their relative standing in terms
of different items designed to measure the aforementioned two control
mechanisms, respectively.
The three statements which were rated as more pronounced by the
professionally educated unemployed youth in terms of their evaluation
on the measures of internal control were 'People suffer from loneliness
because they are not sociable' (60 per cent), 'I cannot fight with the
situation' (55.75 per cent) and 'I firmly believe that the behaviour of
a person is the determinant of one's destiny' (46.75 per cent) respec-
tively, and those which received low scores were 'I complete the
scheme undertaken at any cost' (34.50 per cent), 'I firmly believe that
success is acheived by those who work sincerely' (35.75 per cent) and
'An able person is bound to succeed at any cost' (36 per cent)
respectively.
Like professionally educated unemployed youth, non-professionally
educated unemployed persons too rated themselves relatively high on the
statements like 'People suffer from loneliness because they are not sociable'
(59.50 per cent), 'I cannot fight with the situation' (57.50 per cent) and 'I
firmly believe that the behaviour of a person is the sole determinant of his
destiny' (51.25 per cent) respectively. But, they did not manifest such
similarity with the former while identifying the least experienced situations
by them. However, besides the statement, 'I firmly believe that the current
situation will ultimately change sooner or later and, hence, people should
carry on with their duties instead of going astray' (28.50 per cent), they also
indicated the statements such as 'An able person is bound to succeed at any
cost' (33.50 per cent) and 'I complete the scheme undertaken at any cost'
(34 per cent) as having little concern for them.
On the other hand, the professionally educated employed youth
scored relatively high on the statements like 'An able person is bound
to succeed at any cost' (84.50 per cent); 'A capable person is never
perplexed by any kind of situation. He/She always has full faith in his
potentialities and capabilities to win through' (82.75 per cent); and 'I
firmly believe that success is acheived by those who work sincerely'
(76 per cent), and lower on the statements such as 'I believe that all
happenings related to me is the outcome of my own deeds' (48.50 per
cent); 'I believe that the life of a person is solely determined by one's
activities' (50 per cent) and; 'People suffer from loneliness because
they are not sociable', (51.75 per cent) respectively.

Educated Unemployed Youth in India 571
The statements for which the non-professionally educated em-
ployed youth scored relatively high were 'I believe that the behaviour
of a person is the only determinant of his destiny' (73.75 per cent);
'Whatever schemes I undertake, I certainly complete them' (72 per
cent) and; 'I firmly believe that success is acheived by those who work
sincerely' (71.25 per cent). The ones for which they scored low were
'A capable person is never perplexed by the situation, he/she always
has faith in one's potentialities to overcome that' (43.50 per cent); 'An
individual is responsible for safeguarding one's own right' (47.50 per
cent) and; 'I believe that all that occurred to me was consequent upon
my own deeds' (48.50 per cent).
An inspection of the relative standing of different groups of unem-
ployed and employed youth in terms of different statements, involved
in the measure of external locus of control, revealed the following
important facts.
The professionally educated unemployed youth scored fairly higher
on the statements like 'Inheritance of paternal property or some
unexpected gain can only enable a man to lead a happy and prosperous
life' (90.50 per cent); 'Recommendation has become pertinent in order
to secure a job these days' (89 per cent) and; 'Competence does not
get the right recognition in these days of corruption' (88 per cent), and
scored lower on the statements such as 'Often people are distracted
from their aims by their friend circle' (62.25 per cent) and; 'I believe
that my life, to a considerable extent, is governed by casual incidents'
(65.50 per cent).
The statements which generated relatively high scores in the case
of the non-professionally educated unemployed youth were 'Inheri-
tance of paternal property or gaining of some hidden treasure can only
make one's life happy and prosperous' (92.25 percent); 'The employ-
ment policy of the government is too limited to provide jobs for all'
(86.50 per cent) and; 'Recommendation has gained a value in order to
have an entry into the employment market these days' (85 per cent).
Those which were experienced least were 'I believe that it is not
possible for one to change one's destiny' (64.50 per cent); 'Nothing is
possible today without gratification, (70 per cent) and; 'Often people
are distracted from their aims by their friend circle' (70.75 per cent).
The statements for which the professionally educated employed
youth scored higher were 'Inheritance of paternal property or an
unexpected gain can only bring pleasure and prosperity in one's life'
(82.75 per cent), 'The employment policy of the government is not



574 Lal Bahadur Singh
maintaining pace with the rapidly growing labour force' (75.75 per
cent) and 'I believe in what is lotted cannot be blotted' (75 per cent),
and those for which they tended to score lower were 'Nothing is
possible today without gratification' (50.50 per cent); 'Many a time I
was not able to avert my misfortune' (51.75 per cent) and; 'Often
people are distracted from their aims by their friend circle' (58.50 per
cent) respectively.
The statements which found high favour, relatively, with the non-
professionally educated employed youth were 'Nepotism has today
emerged as a sole criterion for getting progress and prosperity in life'
(81.50 per cent); 'I believe my life as greatly influenced by casual
incidents' (79.25 per cent) and; 'Competence does not get proper
recognition in these days of corruption' (76.50 per cent). Those which
were rated by them as least influencing were 'Many a times I was
unable to avert my misfortune' (49 per cent); 'No success can be
achieved today without gratification' (52.50 per cent) and; 'Often
people are distracted from their aims by their friend circle' (59.25 per
cent).
Thus, an overall analysis of the relative standing of different groups
of unemployed and employed youth in terms of different items,
devised to measure internal and external controls, indicated that they
differed markedly among them in their standing in terms of almost all
the items comprising the measures of the aforementioned two control
mechanisms. Also, all of them exhibited a marked tendency to score
higher on the items subsumed in the scale of external control, indicat-
ing them to be externally controlled to a great extent, albeit they, too,
had either a moderate or higher amount of internality.
Discussion
On the whole, two main facts emerged by the analysis of the results of
this study. First, both the groups of professionally and non-profession-
ally educated unemployed youth, as compared to the same category of
their employed counterparts, were fairly less internally oriented and
more outwardly directed. Second, all the groups of unemployed and
employed youth tended to depend largely upon external forces in
explaining the happenings they came across.
In describing a relatively high amount of external orientation in the
groups of educated unemployed youth, we may follow the views main-
tained by Feather (1990) regarding the factors influencing the causal
attribution of the unemployed to one's unemployment. Depending

Educated Unemployed Youth in India 575
upon Jones and Nisbett's (1972) analysis of actor-observer differences
in causal attribution, he has insisted upon the view that if a large number
of people confront the problem of joblessness, it becomes less plausible
to blame unemployment on the basis of internal inadequacies such as a
person's lack of ability or effort and more plausible to lay the blame on
the constraints in the environment such as the existing socioeconomic
conditions and poor government infrastructure.
Indians, in general, whether they are unemployed, or employed, to
rate themselves fairly high on the external pole of the control mecha-
nism. However, it would be fallacious to claim an Indian to be either
only externally or internally controlled. Indians, in general, as can be
commonly observed, are simultaneously controlled by both internal
and external forces. The study by Singh and Rani (1990), as well as
our philosophy mentioned above, indicate that internality and exter-
nality are two independent poles of our control system. Thus, the
findings of this study, in brief, corresponded, more or less, to the
conclusion of O'Brien (1986) drawn on the basis of Bakke's (1933)
study that the unemployed tended to depend both upon the external
and internal controls simultaneously in ascribing the blame for their
unemployment.
The study, relying both upon macro and micro analyses, indicated
that while the professionally and the non-professionally educated
unemployed youth were governed by a lower level of internal orien-
tation and a higher level of external orientation, the employed, in
general, quite in contrast with the general trend that appear in the
research findings, especially accumulated in the developed nations,
relied both upon internal and external forces simultaneously to a
considerable extent. This is akin to the Indian (the Hindu) view as
depicted in our cultural ethos emphasising the need to take every event as
consequent upon both inside and outside forces, the karma and bhagya
philosophy. It is, thus, being suggested that in a culture, particularly
like that of the Indian, the two dimensions of control — internal and
external — ought to be treated and measured as independent of each
other. This is needed to be taken into account while analysing the
impact of status of occupation (unemployed/employed) on psycho-
logical health. However, further researches involving factor analysis
is being recommended in order to verify the independence of the two
control mechanisms from each other. By way of suggesting a new
dimension to scientific inquiry into the impact of unemployment/em-
ployment on psychological well-being, we fully agree with the views

576 Lal Bahadur Singh
of Feather (1990) emphasising the need for future comparative studies
on the psychological impact of unemployment/employment, both
within and across cultures or at different times in a culture's history.
Of course, culture-specific meaning and significance of a variable is
needed to be determined before including it finally in a scientific
investigation.
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The Indian Journal of Social Work, Vol. 57, Issue 4, October 1996