Sex Roles

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 333–343 | Cite as

Assessing the theoretical models for sex differences in causal attributions for success and failure

  • Irene Hanson Frieze
  • Bernard E. WhitleyJr.
  • Barbara Hartman Hanusa
  • Maureen C. McHugh
Article

Abstract

Three basic models of attributional sex differences are reviewed: General Externality, Self-Derogation, and Low Expectancy. Although all of the models predict that women are unlikely to attribute their successes to ability, the models were quite different in other predictions. A meta-analysis of 21 studies examining sex differences in success-failure attributions was done to determine which of these three models had the most empirical support. Wording of attribution questions was also assessed. Results indicated only two consistent sex differences: Men make stronger ability attributions than women regardless of the outcome when informational attributional wording is used; and men attribute their successes and failures less to luck. Empirically, none of the models was well supported.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irene Hanson Frieze
    • 1
  • Bernard E. WhitleyJr.
    • 1
  • Barbara Hartman Hanusa
    • 1
  • Maureen C. McHugh
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PittsburghUSA

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