, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 346-358

Gender differences in causal attributions by college students of performance on course examinations

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Gender differences in causal attributions and emotions for imagined success and failure on examinations were investigated. Males made stronger ability attributions for success than females, whereas females emphasized the importance of studying and paying attention. Males more than females attributed failure to a lack of studying and low interest, but females were more likely than males to blame an F on a lack of ability. Females experienced stronger emotions than did males; they felt happier than males did after success but felt more like a failure than did males after imagining receiving an F on an examination. Some of the gender differences in causal attributions, especially for ability attributions, depended on the gender-type of the subject matter of the examinations. The implications of these findings are discussed.