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Three-Dimensional Model of Attribution

Definition

The three-dimensional model of attribution posits that the explanations people give for the things that happen to them can vary on three distinct factors, and these variations have consequences for people's mood, selfperception, and well-being. Attributions can be stable (true across time) or unstable (temporary); they can be internal (stemming from the person) or external (stemming from the environment); and they can be global (applying to many domains) or specific (limited to one area).

Background

According to initial work on learned helplessness, exposure to uncontrollable negative events can lead to depression. Upon further research, however, Martin Seligman and colleagues, who originally developed the theory of learned helplessness, found that this was true for some people but not for others. Their research showed that what separated the ...

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