Causal Attributions and Affective Reactions to Discontinuing Outcomes in Motor Performance

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology

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Edward McAuleyUniversity of Illinois

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Terry E. DuncanUniversity of Oregon

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Research suggests that attributional search is a consequence of disconfirming outcomes and that causal dimensions influence affective reactions to achievement outcomes. The present study manipulated future expectancies for performance and actual outcome in a competitive motor task. Following competitive outcome, causal attributions for and affective reactions to the outcome were assessed. Discriminant analysis indicated that winners experienced significantly more positive affect than did losers, who reported more intense negative affects. Regression analyses examined the relationship between causal dimensions and affective reactions. The locus of causality and stability dimensions significantly influenced a number of negative affects in losers, whereas all three dimensions in combination significantly influenced confidence in winners. The findings are discussed in relation to previous attribution-affect research in achievement settings and the role of disconfirm-ing experiences in the attribution process.

Edward McAuley, formerly with the Department of Physical Education and Human Movement Studies at the University of Oregon, is now with the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, 61801. Terry E. Duncan is with the Department of PEHMS at the University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403.

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