ERIC Number: ED397444
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Mar-28
Reference Count: N/A
Attributional Style and the Freshman Writer.
Gordon, Douglas K.; Mercier, Judith D.
Martin Seligman's psychology research on depression, published in 7 books and hundreds of articles, shows a correlation between attributional style and depression. "Explanatory style" is another term nearly synonymous with attributional style, a habitual way to explain, positively or negatively, external events. A "learned" optimist himself, Seligman believed that habits of explanation can change: ergo, his book purports to teach the failure-prone human to change rhetorical styles. A study explored the extent to which students' attributional style determines their performance in freshman composition. The study began with a sampling of 80 students but through attrition lost about 35%. An Attributional Style Questionnaire was given to the students at the beginning of the course, as well as a writing test at the beginning and again at the end of the course. The majority of students in the sample had higher-range hopefulness scores. Whereas 38% of those students with lower-range hopefulness scores showed writing improvement, 58% of the students with higher-range hopefulness scores demonstrated increased ability in their writing performance. Although these results are not statistically significant, they are in a predicted direction. In other words, students with higher hopefulness scores are likely to show improved writing ability. These results may warrant further research even though they are not conclusive in themselves. (Contains four tables of data.) (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Attribution Style Questionnaire