Self-discrepancies and causal attributions: studies of hypothesized relationships.


The self-concept and causal attributions are both centrally implicated in psychological disorders including depression and paranoia. In two investigations of the dynamic relationships between causal attributions and self-representations, non-patient participants completed questionnaires derived from Higgins' (1987) Self-Discrepancy Theory before and after completing a measure of causal attribution. In Study 1, consistent with cognitive models of depression, external attributions for negative events were associated with reductions in self-actual:self-ideal discrepancies. Study 2 revealed significantly different effects on self-discrepancies of three types of causal attributions. Internal attributions led to increased self-actual:self-ideal discrepancies as well as increased discrepancies between self-perceptions and the believed views of others about the self (self-actual:other-actual discrepancies). External situational attributions led to no changes in either self-actual:self-ideal or self-actual:other-actual discrepancies. External personal attributions led to no changes in self-actual:self-ideal discrepancies but increased self-actual:other-actual discrepancies. These findings point to the value of distinguishing between different kinds of external attributions. They show that self-representations and causal attributions are closely coupled cognitive domains. The results also suggest that paranoid ideation might be specifically associated with external-personal attributions for negative events.


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@article{Kinderman2000SelfdiscrepanciesAC, title={Self-discrepancies and causal attributions: studies of hypothesized relationships.}, author={Peter Kinderman and Richard P . Bentall}, journal={The British journal of clinical psychology}, year={2000}, volume={39 ( Pt 3)}, pages={255-73} }