Improving attributional retraining, a study assessing the method of administration and a common at-risk variable

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Hunter, Anthony James
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Attributional retraining informs students that failure is controllable and unstable, and that success is often achieved through effort. In this study, students who report a low - high school average were classified as at-risk (low versus high - hi h school average). Furthermore, the effectiveness of attributional retraining with these types of students was assessed with four different intervention methods. Following a standard attributional retraining videotape, subjects were asked to: do nothing, take an aptitude test, view a videotaped lecture and be tested on the material, or engage in a discussion on causal ascriptions. These conditions were compared to a control condition in which the subjects viewed a neutral-topic videotape. It was expected that as the degree of personal involvement in the procedure increased, attributional retraining would be more effective. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) did not reveal significant intervention effects as measured by improvements in university course grades, motivation, perceived control, and other related variables. A high school average main effect was evident for final course grade. A significant reported high school average by intervention condition interaction effect was found on the motivation variable. Significant improvements following attributional retraining were only discovered when a priori t tests were conducted. The results for the students reporting low-high school average show that the attributional retraining videotape plus aptitude test condition and the attributional retraining videotape plus discussion condition improved students' scores on perceived control and motivation scales significantly. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)