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Title:Age and Sex Differences in the Use of Causal Attributions and Their Relationship to Persistence
Author(s):Pettus, Willie Clinton
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Developmental
Abstract:Three studies were done on children's use of causal attributions. In Study 1, sex and age differences in the use of ability, effort, luck and task difficulty attributions were examined. Tasks specifically designed to elicit each of the four ascriptions were presented to four age groups: 4 1/2 to 6, 7 to 8 1/2, 9 1/2 to 11 years, and adults. Age differences were found in the use of ability and luck attributions. This was related to younger children's greater tendency to focus on age as a causal explanation. Sex differences were found in the use of task difficulty attributions which was explained in terms of socio-cultural factors. In Study 2, children's attributional preferences and the effects of them on persistence were investigated. The results suggested that there are differences in the attributional preferences of children of different ages. However, stability attributions were found to mediate persistence in children of all ages, much as they do in adults. Study 3 was designed to examine whether children's familiarity with the skill required on a task effected the causal attributions they exhibited. Two groups of children tended to make different attributions to the same task based upon what each group was told about what the task was designed to measure. Overall, the results provide evidence that there are developmental differences in the use of attributions and that children's attributions are influenced by context effects.
Issue Date:1981
Description:88 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1981.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8127670
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-13
Date Deposited:1981

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