Attribution in sport and exercise psychology: Seeking congruence between theory, research and practice.
Psychology of Sport and Exercise
Objectives This paper urges revision of the way attributions are conceptualised, investigated, and applied in sport psychology. There has been a recent decline in attribution research in sport psychology, despite the generally accepted relevance of attributions in applied settings. In seeking closer links between attribution theory, research, and practice, we argue that there is a mismatch between research and practice in sport psychology. Methods Relevant literature is reviewed and theoretical arguments offered within seven sub-headings: attribution theory in practice; linking consistency, distinctiveness, and consensus information to attribution dimensions; controllability as the primary attribution dimension; the generalisability of controllability; assessing attributions; implications for practice; and the social context. Results and conclusions Research within sport psychology should focus on the central issue of how controllability attributions generalise across time, situations, and people. Measurement should reflect this approach to research within the field of attributions and, to this end, researchers might consider using a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods of inquiry. Practitioners should use consistency, distinctiveness, and consensus information to challenge clients' attributional thinking and help them attain adaptive perceptions of controllability. Practitioners should also help clients to be their own psychologist. Future research and practice should include a consideration of the social context in which attributions are shaped.
notes: Drawing upon attribution theory, research, and practice, this position paper argues that there has been a mismatch between attribution research and practice in sport psychology, and the narrow focus of much research has been a major factor in the demise of attributional research in sport psychology. A broader conceptual approach is encouraged, with researchers urged to focus on the central issue of how controllability attributions generalise across time, situations, and people. This novel approach contributes to knowledge, methods and concepts in the area, thus helping to revitalise an area of research that has recently been dormant in sport psychology.
Copyright © 2005 Elsevier B.V. NOTICE: This is the author’s version of a work accepted for publication by Elsevier. Changes resulting from the publishing process, including peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting and other quality control mechanisms, may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 2005, Vol. 6, 2, pp. 189 – 204 DOI: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2003.10.008
Vol. 6, Issue 2, pp. 189 - 204