Attributional Styles and Academic Achievement in University Students: A Longitudinal Investigation

Gibb, Brandon E.; Lin Zhu, Brandon E.; Alloy, Lauren B.; Abramson, Lyn Y.
June 2002
Cognitive Therapy & Research;Jun2002, Vol. 26 Issue 3, p309
Academic Journal
Although a number of previous studies have examined the relation between attributional styles and academic achievement, they have yielded contradictory results. This study sought to further examine the relation between attributional styles assessed during the freshman year and academic achievement over the entire college career. Results suggest that, among students who tend to make internal or stable attributions for negative life events, those with low levels of academic ability (i.e., low SAT scores) receive lower cumulative GPAs while in college than do those with high levels of academic ability (i.e., high SAT scores). In contrast, the GPAs of students who tend to make external or unstable attributions for negative life events appeared to be relatively unaffected by their level of academic ability.


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