Success and Causality in Sport: The Influence of Perception

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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This study was designed to examine perceptions of causality and perceptions of success in women's intercollegiate gymnastics and to determine the relative influence of perception of success on causal explanations for performance and the reciprocal influence, if any, of causal attributions on perceptions of success. Intercollegiate gymnasts were asked to indicate how successful they felt their performance had been on each of four Olympic gymnastic events. The gymnasts also completed the Causal Dimension Scale (Russell, 1982) following performance of each event. The score awarded by the judges for each event was employed as an objective, absolute measure of performance. Multivariate analyses of variance that revealed more internal, stable, and controllable attributions for performance were made by those gymnasts who scored high and perceived their performance as more successful than those gymnasts who scored lower and perceived their performance as less successful. The results of this study are discussed in terms of new approaches to attribution research in sport.

This research was conducted while the author was on the staff of the Sports Medicine Service, Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Iowa. The author wishes to thank Dan Russell, Diane Gill, Jack Rejeski, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Edward McAuley, Dept. of Physical Education, Dance, and Leisure Studies, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66502.