Podium Presentation 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology 2019

Linking  Optimistic Attributional Style to Academic Performance:  Meta-analysis  Shows That  Attributions of ­­­Positive Events Matter Most (#49)

Tamara O. Gordeeva 1 , Oleg A. Sychev 2 , Evgeny Osin 3
  1. National Research University Higher School of Economics and Department of Psychology Moscow State University, Moscow, RUSSIA, Russia
  2. Psychology, Shukshin Altai State Humanities Pedagogical University , Biysk, Russia
  3. International Laboratory of Positive Psychology of Personality and Motivation, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia

Research on optimistic attributional style (OAS) has focused primarily on the relations of style with high well-being and low depression (Peterson et al., 1985; Sweeney et al., 1986; Hu et al., 2015).  Less research has focused on the relationship between OAS and achievement. Also, the extant achievement research has concentrated on optimism following negative events rather than optimism following positive events, and has yielded a rather mixed picture.  Via both a meta-analysis and two new studies, we examined the relationship between OAS, academic performance and well-being. In the meta-analysis, dispositions to make stable and global attributions for positive events were more strongly related to academic achievement (d = 0.21, k = 30, N = 6351) than dispositions to make unstable and local attributions regarding negative events (k = 66, d=0.11, N = 11023).  Type of test (general vs. achievement-specific)  and academic level  moderated the associations. Two new studies with schoolchildren and university students were designed to address remaining questions. In both studies structural equation modeling results indicated a positive relationship between OAS for positive events in achievement situations and academic performance, including boosted achievement over time. Practical recommendations for the development of OAS for positive events are provided.