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NCJ Number: 70292 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Adolescents' Attributions for Delinquent Behavior
Journal: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin  Volume:6  Issue:1  Dated:(March 1980)  Pages:63-67
Author(s): K Wells
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: US Dept of Health, Education, and Welfare
Rockville, MD 20857
Grant Number: MH14670-01
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This research examines adolescents' causal attributions for their own and others' delinquent behavior, the impact of being institutionalized as delinquent on attributions, and the relationship between attributions and delinquent involvement.
Abstract: Dispositional attributions (explanations referring to enduring traits in the actor) and situational attributions (explanations referring to forces external to the actor) are the two types of attributions under study. A total of 70 institutionalized adolescents and 69 ninth-graders completed measures of attributions and delinquent involvement. Multivariate analyses were performed on the resulting data. Adolescents appeared to attribute their own and others' delinquent behavior to situational over dispositional causes, a result which may reflect an appreciation on their part of widespread adolescent involvement in all types of delinquent acts. Although adolescents use situational explanations to a greater extent than dispositional explanations, they use both types of explanations to a greater degree when explaining others', behavior than when explaining their own. Individuals may be less willing to subject their own behavior to a causal analysis or to consider their behavior as needing a causal analysis. Institutionalized adolescents are less likely to attribute delinquent behavior to dispositional causes than are noninstitutionalized adolescents; both groups use situational attributions to about the same degree. No readily apparent relationship exists between attributions for one's own delinquent behavior and involvement in that behavior. Delinquent involvement may be more strongly related to reasons for not engaging in such behavior than for reasons for it. A table, three references, and one note are provided.
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Attribution theory; Deviance; Effects of imprisonment; Misconduct; Problem behavior; Self concept; Situational theory
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