Attribution refers to the inferences people make about the cause of an event, situation, or behavior. This type of inference also is commonly referred to as a causal attribution. As an example, on learning that they failed a class exam, some students might infer that they did poorly because they did not study hard enough (i.e., a “lack of effort” attribution), whereas other students might infer that they did poorly because the test was overly detailed (i.e., a “task difficulty” attribution). Since the late 1970s, there has been extensive psychopathological research examining the role causal attributions may play in the etiology of disorders such as depression. In addition, research in clinical psychology has examined reattribution techniques that were designed to help clients identify and replace ...

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