, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 5-39

A review of attribution theory in achievement contexts

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Attribution theory has proved to be a useful conceptual framework for the study of motivation in educational contexts. This article reviews a number of the major principles of attribution theory as they relate to achievement strivings. Among the topics considered are the antecedents to particular selfascriptions, the consequences of causal attributions for emotional reactions to success and failure, help-seeking and help-giving, peer acceptance and rejection, achievement evaluation, and attributional process in African-American populations. The relations between attribution theory and other dominant motivational conceptions, as well as some criticisms of the theory, are also addressed.