THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CAUSAL ATTRIBUTIONS AND SELF-EFFICACY AS INFLUENCED BY PEER MODELING.
AuthorDUNLAP, MARGARET REED.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractBoth causal attributions and self-efficacy have been theorized as mediating performance on achievement tasks. However, few studies have explored the relationship between these constructs or in what way they may be affected by peer modeling. The purpose of this study was to explore developmental differences between two grade levels in the effect of modeling on persistence, self-efficacy judgments, and choice of attributions for predicted and actual outcomes on a figure-matching puzzle, and the relationship between self-efficacy and causal attributions. Seventy-three eighth graders and 73 third graders were randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions or to a control condition. Four videotapes for each grade level, showing a male peer modeling either high or low persistence and success or failure on a figure-matching puzzle, constituted the experimental conditions. Subjects' attributions for various outcomes in achievement settings were recorded one week prior to the experimental session and at its conclusion, on the Intellectual Achievement Responsibility scale. Attributions for predicted and actual outcomes on a figure-matching puzzle were also recorded. Students' persistence on the nearly-impossible puzzle was measured by time in seconds, while an efficacy scale assessed their belief regarding their ability to solve the puzzle at three times during the experimental session. Significant differences were found between the grade levels for self-efficacy ratings, with third graders reporting greater efficacy beliefs than eighth graders. A significant change in self-efficacy ratings was also found, but it was not possible to determine which aspect of the experimental session was responsible for the change. Distribution of the attributions was severely skewed on both sets of attribution measures, in favor of an internal stable cause (effort), precluding meaningful analyses of the relationship between self-efficacy and attributions. It was also found that attributions changed significantly over time and the experimental experience as measured by the questionnaires. No significant effect of modeling on persistence time was found. The research findings were discussed in terms of the research methodology used, the psychometric properties of the instruments, and implications for the theoretical models.
Degree ProgramEducational Psychology