Causal Attributions in Physical Fitness Testing. (Psychology)

Article excerpt

When the outcome of a physical test has serious consequences, do participants attribute their success or failure to external factors such as luck and poor testing conditions or internal factors like ability and effort? Roberts and Pascuzzi's 1979 model for sport attribution categorized attributions along 2 dimensions: locus of control (internal and external) and stability (stable and unstable). The purposes of this study were to determine what elements of the 1979 model were used by participants following physical fitness testing, to reveal differences that may exist in attributions made following goal achievement versus failure, and to suggest modifications in the model for use in physical testing as necessary. Specifically, 123 participants each completed 14 physical tests assessing health- and skill-related components of physical fitness during a semester-long course. Prior to attempting each test, all participants established a personal goal. After completing the tests, participants reported by open-ended survey the primary reason why they did or did not reach their goals. Analysis of all attributions (N = 1393) revealed that the Roberts and Pascuzzi model could not categorize 17% of the responses. Attributions to ability, effort, practice, psychological factors, and task difficulty comprised 69% of all responses, while coaching, unstable ability, teamwork, luck, and officials made up only 5% of responses. …