Stability and variability in parents' causal attributions for their child's academic success and failure
This research examined the mean-level, interindividual and intraindividual stabilities in parents’ causal attributions for their child’s performance outcomes. Parental causal attributions to ability, effort, teaching and task difficulty were studied separately for mothers and fathers. Three Finnish data sets were used. The first sample was derived from the Jyväskylä Entrance into Primary School study, in which 212 children and their parents were followed from the beginning of the first grade to the end of the ninth grade. The second sample included over 1,700 children and their parents from the First Steps study, in which the participants were followed from the beginning of the first grade to the end of the third grade. The third sample was part of the Parents, Teachers and Children’s Learning study, which encompassed 162 children and their parents, who were examined twice during the child’s first grade of elementary school. The findings of these studies suggest, first, that the mean-level changes in parents’ causal attributions to ability, effort, teaching and task difficulty in regard to their child’s successes and failures in comprehensive school were rather small, based on the measurements conducted in the first and ninth grade. The most evident changes were a decrease in teaching and an increase in task difficulty attributions. Second, all causal attributions, apart from fathers’ teaching attribution in success situations and mothers’ effort attribution in failure situations, showed moderate interindividual stability. Third, parental causal attributions varied significantly from one day to another. Thus, intraindividual stability was relatively low. Overall, the results add to our understanding of the long-term stability of parental causal attributions from children’s start to finish of their comprehensive school education, as well as of the day-to-day variation in the parents’ causal interpretations regarding their child’s performance in various learning situations. ...
PublisherUniversity of Jyväskylä
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