CAUSAL ATTRIBUTION THEORY: ITS APPLICATION AND MEASUREMENT
Leith (1989) defines a "causal attribution" as the perceived cause of a given event or situation. Attribution theory, according to Sears, Freedman and Peplau (1991) consists of a set of basic principles delineating the entire process involved in the formulation of causal attributions; this includes such processes as what motivates people to generate causal attributions, how they decide which a particular cause is most important, the biases that obstruct accurate causal attributions, and so forth.
The purpose of the review of literature presented here is to examine theory and research regarding the general application of attribution theory in sport and to explore the measurement of the causal attribution process as measured by the Causal Dimension Scale II developed by McAuley, Duncan and Russell (1992), which is a revised edition of the Causal Dimension Scale originally developed by Russell (1982). The review begins with a brief delineation of the importance of attribution theory for the field of sport.
This delineation is followed by a review of some of the well-established findings in research examining causal attributions in sport. Implications of these findings for coaches and sport practioners are then listed.
The last section of the review examines the measurement of causal attribution. In particular, the Causal Dimension Scale and its revised version are examined in terms of their psychometric differences and properties. Examples of research using each of these indices is provided.
Significance of Causal Attribution For the Field of Sports
In his extensive review of the literature on causal attribution theory as applied to sport and sport behavior, Leith (1989) discusses the pivotal factor making attribution theory relevant to sport, namely the connection between causal attributions and athletes' motivation and performance. As Leith (1989) ...