Understanding Attributional Motivations, Emotions and Sport Type in Male College Athletes

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sports and sport type were used as a vehicle for examining attributions for success/failure, pride and anxiety of 111 college-aged athletes. It was shown that both individual-team sport athletes and team sport athletes differ little in their emotional reactions and attributions to outcome. Internal and external attributions were shown to be two separate factors. Experienced college-aged athletes exhibited both high internality and high externality for success and both low internality and low externality for failure. As expected, level of pride was found to be greater for success than failure. Greater anxiety occurred after failure than success, but postcompetition anxiety reactions were shown to be attribution independent emotions. Previous research on self-serving, self-enhancing and self-protecting biases was found to be inadequate in explaining the intricacies and diversity of attributional responses present in this field study. It is suggested that differences in findings across studies regarding attributional biases may be based on the methodologies and instruments used, limitations on the number of attributions available to subjects, differences between subject populations tested, the way in which researchers conceive of attributional findings and finally the way in which attributions are defined. The findings lend support to the cognition or "information processing" theoretical viewpoint.