4. Attribution theory

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  • Attribution theory
    • This looks at the reason given to account for success and failure in sport
    • WEINER
      • His model of attribution is based on 2 dimensions: locus of causality and stability
      • The locus of causality indicates whether the attribution relates to factors that are either internal or external to the performer
      • Effort and ability represent the internal factors while task difficulty and luck are external
      • Stability refers to the degree of permanence associated with an attribution factor
      • A stable factor may be ability and unstable one may be luck
      • Control is a third dimension of the attribution model
    • There are strong links between achievement motivation and attribution theory
    • Reasons for success and failure
      • In general, the coach should attribute failure to external factors like luck. This sustains confidence and motivation by taking away responsibility from the performer
      • Internal attributions like ability should be used to reinforce success as this elevates confidence
      • High achievers tend to attribute their success to internal factors and failure to external factors
        • This is known as attribution bias and as a consequence high achiever tend to persist in the face of failure
      • Low achievers tend to attribute success to external factors and failure to internal factors
        • This is negative application of attribution and would cause the athlete to conform to learned helplessness
    • Attribution retraining
      • This involves changing the performer's perception of the causes of failure
      • Failure may be instead attributed to external, controllable and unstable factors
      • This can be used to raise confidence, convert avoidance behaviour into approach behaviour and encourage mastery orientation
    • Strategies for the promotion of mastery orientation and avoidance of learned helplessness
      • Mastery orientation is based on the individual's level of confidence
      • An appropriately designed exercise programme can improve self-esteem and can modify the negative characteristics of Type A behaviour
      • Attitudes toward physical activity can be changed by giving positive experiences in PE and rewarding achievement with positive reinforcement
      • Negative attitudes can also be reversed by applying verbal persuasion and the psychological theory of cognitive dissonance
      • Attribution theory can also have a positive influence on sports performance and promote mastery orientation y improving confidence
      • In addition controllable effort attributions will change ego orientation into task orientation
    • EVAL
        • Ego-orientated athletes in competitive situations were likely to display aggressive behaviour, than were task-orientated athletes
      • The processes of attribution and attribution retraining influence the development of self-esteem and task orientation
        • Task goals facilitate a lifestyle that is both active and physical


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