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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02305

A Systematic Review of Teachers’ Causal Attributions: Prevalence, Correlates, and Consequences

  • 1McGill University, Canada

The current review provides an overview of published research on teachers’ causal attributions since 1970s in the context of theoretical assumptions outlined in Weiner’s attribution theory (1972, 1985, 2000, 2001, 2010). Results across 79 studies are first examined with respect to the prevalence of teachers’ interpersonal causal attributions for student performance and misbehavior, as well as intrapersonal attributions for occupational stress. Second, findings showing significant relations between teachers’ attributions and their emotions and cognitions, as well as student outcomes, are discussed. Third, an overview of results showing the prevalence and implications of teachers’ causal attributions to be moderated by critical background variables is also provided. Finally, observed themes across study findings are highlighted with respect to the fundamental attribution error and the utility of Weiner’s attribution theory for understanding how teachers’ explanations for classroom stressors impact their instruction, well-being, and student development.

Keywords: teachers, Causal attributions, review, interpersonal attributions, intrapersonal attributions

Received: 15 May 2018; Accepted: 05 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Ann X. Huang, Duquesne University, United States

Reviewed by:

Jie Zhang, The College at Brockport, United States
Malte Jansen, Institute for Educational Quality Improvement (IQB), Germany  

Copyright: © 2018 Wang and Hall. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Hui Wang, McGill University, Montreal, Canada,