Anderson, C. A., & Arnoult, L. H. (1985).

Attributional style and everyday problems in living: Depression, loneliness, and shyness.

Social Cognition, 3, 16-35.


A large-scale questionnaire study was conducted to test several aspects of different attributional models of everyday problems in living. College students completed scales assessing depression, loneliness, and shyness. In addition, they completed a questionnaire that measured attributional style on five causal dimensions (locus, stability, controllability, globality, and intentionality) for four types of situations (interpersonal success and failure, noninterpersonal success and failure). The results of a series of regression and correlation analyses led to the following major conclusions: (1) Globality, intentionality, and stability may be dropped from attributional models of depression, loneliness, and shyness with little loss of predictive power; (2) controllability is the single most important dimension in predicting a person's level of depression, loneliness, or shyness; (3) locus adds to the prediction of these symptoms only when assessed by failure items; and (4) attributional style predicts these symptoms especially well when it is assessed by the type of situation items that are particularly relevant to the symptom. Implications for the construction and testing of attributional models are discussed.

©1985 by the Guilford Press.

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