ERIC Number: ED236475
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-May
Reference Count: 0
Causal Attributions in Relationship Dysfunction: A Reexamination.
Fincham, F. D.
The study of causal attributions at the interpersonal level has been an integral part of attribution research. Unfortunately most attribution research has involved persons unfamiliar with each other. The marital relationship is an example of the need for understanding causal attributions among intimates. A striking feature of marital interaction is its reciprocal nature; relationship problems can occur when partners justify their own behavior in response to the other's prior behavior. Causal attributions can play a functional role in a real life relationship, as opposed to a laboratory situation, because there are usually a number of plausible causes for an event. Research has suggested that causal dimensions different from those traditionally used in individually oriented research may be important in studying intimates. A second issue raised concerning the preventative role of causal attributions in intimate conflict is that causal attributions, as accounts which bridge the gap between expectation and action, suggest various points of possible relationship malfunction. It appears that research on responsibility attribution is more relevant to relationship dysfunction than the study of perceived causality as traditionally conceived. When couples in therapy present problems where causal attributions are central, one needs to focus not only on the attributions themselves but on the expectations that make them so important. (JAC)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association (55th, Chicago, IL, May 5-7, 1983).