Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Education (EdD)



Committee Chair(s)

Arden Frandsen


Arden Frandsen


Dr. Bertoch


Dr. Checketts


Dr. Rickert


Dr. Stone


Many children fail to achieve academic success despite an average or above average intellectual capacity, unimpaired motor ability, intact sensory functions, and an absence of major emotional disturbance. These same children have been assigned such descriptive terms as "underachievers" and "children with psycho-neurological disabilities."

It may be more apt to assume that these children who are underachieving and obtaining poor grades do so from lack of feeling of personal initiative and personal control over events in their lives.

This study attempts to investigate initiative as clinically observed and its effect upon tasks requiring an active analytical approach to problem solving. One hypothesized objective was to determine if students matched for I.Q. and sex, who also reported that they assume more responsibility and had greater control and responsibility for their actions, did better on tasks requiring high motivation and elaboration of the structure imposed upon ambiguous stimulus. Also investigated was the degree to which the personality variable of initiative affected a person's performance on figure ground tasks. Further, the study examined the relationship of the personality variable cited above to subscales on the WAIS, and performance on an achievement test.

Results were statistically supportive of the hypothesis that subjects feeling greater initiative and responsibility for their lives were able to impose structure and greater constructive elaborations to an ambiguous stimulus (Rorschach Cards), versus those subjects with less self initiative-responsibility. Also, the hypothesized relationship of initiative to performance on the Witkins Embedded Figures Test and academic achievement tests were in the hypothesized direction, but not significantly at the .05 level. Other hypotheses were not supported.

Further research is necessary to determine those common denominators that aid individuals to be productive, positive, and successful in solving life's tasks.



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