• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The Handbook of Theories of Social Psychology is an essential resource for researchers and students of social psychology and related disciplines.

An Attribution Theory of Motivation
An attribution theory of motivation

Expectancy value theory as modified by Atkinson, locus of control research initiated by Rotter, and the naïve psychology of achievement performance advanced by Heider provided the stepping stones for the formulation of the attribution theories of motivation presented in this chapter. Two theories are reviewed – an intrapersonal conception that primarily addresses achievement striving, and an interpersonal theory that focuses on social behaviors including help-giving, aggression, and reactions to the stigmatized. Causal beliefs, their underlying properties, and distinctive links to emotions form the foundation for these theories, which suggest a thinking-feeling-action sequence as the “deep structure” for motivated behavior. Application of the theories to achievement striving, physical and mental health, and social support are discussed.


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