An Individual Differences Measure of Attributions That Affect Achievement Behavior: Factor Structure and Predictive Validity of the Academic Attributional Style Questionnaire
LaPointe, Mitchell R. P.
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Attributing a negative achievement outcome (e.g., failing a test) to causes that are personally uncontrollable and stable elicits a low expectancy of future success, feelings of hopelessness in that domain, and reduced behavioral efforts to succeed. Thus, a tendency to make such attributions (i.e., dysfunctional academic attributional style) is an individual differences variable that puts people at risk. Two studies examine the factor structure and predictive validity of the Academic Attributional Style Questionnaire (AASQ). Study 1 (using two independent samples) found that the AASQ is a factorially valid measure of functional and dysfunctional attributional styles. In Study 2, during repeated failure in an academic task, the success expectancies, hopefulness, and behavioral persistence of students with a dysfunctional attributional style were lower than those of students with a functional attributional style. These findings modify the attributional theory of achievement motivation (Weiner, 1985) by positing an individual differences moderator variable (i.e., attributional style) and extend attributional research on at-risk students.