Pupils’, teachers’, and parents’ causal attributions for problem behavior at school

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The present study investigates the causal attributions of elementary school children, teachers, and parents regarding problem nonacademic behavior in school. The subjects were asked to grade and rank the importance of each item in a list of 26 causal attributions, compiled from previous answers of children from the same population. The children’s, parents’, and teachers’ attributional patterns were compared, and the children’s pattern was checked against Weiner’s attributional model. The results in general show that children and teachers tend to play down the importance of reasons that relate misbehavior directly to themselves and attribute much importance to reasons external to themselves. Parents, on the other hand, tend to attribute similar degrees of importance to reasons related to the misbehaving child, to the teacher, to other children, and to the child’s environment, as well as to themselves. The results also show that Weiner’s model is only partially applicable to nonacademic behavior at school. The results are discussed in the context of attribution theory in general and its applicability and meaningfulness for nonacademic behavior in school.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-21
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Educational Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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