This study investigated some antecedents of achievement attributions and achievement values. Antecedents included demographics (gender, age, socioeconomic status, and race) and six achievement context choices (school, work, family, social, aesthetic, and sport). It was expected that individuals would be more motivated to achieve in some contexts and less motivated to achieve in others, and that this would affect their achievement attributions and values. The subjects were 1,164 9th and 12th graders from six Illinois high schools that were balanced on rural, inner-city, and urban locations. Canonical correlation analysis was used to determine that demographics shared 13.7% of the variance in optimally weighted linear combinations of achievement contexts, but only a small amount of the variance in causal attributions and achievement values. Achievement contexts, controlling for demographics, shared 50.1% of the variance in optimally weighted linear combinations of achievement values and 20% of the variance in causal attributions. Similarly, achievement values shared 37.4% of the variance in causal attributions when demographics and achievement contexts were controlled. Implications for research on causal attributions and achievement values are discussed. One such implication was that if they are studied only in one context, typically the school, the achievement values and causal attributions of many individuals will not be fully understood.
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