Affective Responses to Externally and Personally Controllable Attributions

Edward McAuley, Shelly Shaffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relations between the external control and personal control dimensions of the revised Causal Dimension Scale (CDSII; McAuley, Duncan, & Russell, 1992) and affective responses to a negative event. Employing a scenario methodology, subjects (N = 100) were asked to make attributions for and record intensity of affective responses to a negative event that was personally uncontrollable and externally controllable. We hypothesized that externally controllable attributions should be implicated in the generation of affective responses such as anger, whereas self-related (i.e., personally controllable) attributions would be more strongly related to guilt-related affects. Correlational and hierarchical multiple-regression analyses supported the hypotheses. Moreover, the correlation between the external control and personal control dimensions was only moderate (r =.44). This contrasts with other studies that have shown these dimensions to be very highly related and distinct, perhaps only at the conceptual level. The results are discussed with respect to the role played by both control dimensions in the generation of affective responses and the clear distinction between the two dimensions in situations that truly are externally controlled.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-485
Number of pages11
JournalBasic and Applied Social Psychology
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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