UBC Theses and Dissertations
Attribution patterns of learning-disabled boys : correlates and implications Haqq, Donna Marie
Using interview techniques, researchers have shown that learning disabled children have maladaptive causal attributions for success and failure. In this study, which involved both interviews and an experimental manipulation, attributions of 30 learning disabled (LD) and 38 normally achieving (NLD) boys, 9-12 years, were compared. On a pre-experimental task questionnaire for "academic success," LD boys gave greater attributions to "luck" and to "task ease." On a pre-task questionnaire for "academic failure," both LD and NLD boys ascribed similar levels of causality to "bad luck," "task difficulty," and "lack of ability." However, NLD boys were more willing to attribute academic failure to their own lack of effort. After an experimental manipulation varying task difficulty, there were no group effects. Both LD and NLD boys attributed greater causality to "effort" and "ability" in the "easy" condi ti on. While there were no changes in scores (pre-, versus post-experimental task) on six cognitive measures, LD and NLD performances were significantly different on all six measures, especially on Serial Recall (LDs poorer in sequential processing) and on Color Naming (LDs slower in speed of processing). There were no pre-task group differences on expectancy for "self," but after the experimental manipulation the LD boys expected to do better, overall, and both LD and NLD boys had higher self-expectancy in the easy condition. There were no group differences on expectancy for "other," pre-task, but, after the experimental task, the LD group had higher expectancy for "another boy," and both groups had higher expectancy for "other" in the easy condition. Using Achenbach's Child Behavior Checklist, LD boys were found to be less competent, socially and scholastically, and more depressed, hyperactive, obsessive/compulsive, aggressive, and delinquent. Despite these LD/NLD differences, the LD boys were better than a clinically referred group (except for lower school competence). The NLD group was comparable to a non-clinic norm group (except for higher school competence). Implications of this research led to recommendations for attribution retraining, both ascriptions of failures to lack of effort or ineffective strategies, and ascription of successes to good effort and ability.
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