Attribution Case Studies with Elite Junior Australian Footballers and Their Coach

Wilcox, Alyse K (2015) Attribution Case Studies with Elite Junior Australian Footballers and Their Coach. Other Degree thesis, Victoria University.


The purpose of the current research was to extend knowledge of attribution processes in sport. Specifically, the attribution processes of coach-athlete dyads were investigated over several weeks of competition, focusing on the application of theoretical frameworks (i.e., Heider, 1958; Kelley, 1967; Rees, Ingeldew, & Hardy, 2005a; Weiner, 1985) to attribution processes. Attribution change and the influence of coach feedback and post-game review procedures on attribution processes were also investigated. Three elite junior Australian Football (AF) players (18-19 years) and their head coach (45 years) were interviewed on multiple occasions through an attribution lens. Each athlete was interviewed on three occasions (pre-game, post-game, post-feedback) and the athletes’ coach was also interviewed two days post performances for the same three games. Player-participants’ stories are presented as case studies, with attention given to how their stories related to the literature. Participants’ stories reflected several aspects of theoretical frameworks (i.e., Heider, 1958; Kelley, 1967; Weiner, 1985). There was evidence of actor and observer divergence with the coach-participant providing more dispositional causal ascription than player-participants. Player-participants demonstrated attribution change after their post-game feedback possibly revealing the influence of review processes for mediating attributions. For example, after coach feedback, athletes used the coach’s attributions to explain their performance outcome. In addition, their attributions tended towards using more dispositional causes in their post-coach feedback interviews than were used in their post-game interviews. The findings may demonstrate the strong influence that coaches have on athletes’ perceptions of their performance outcomes. The research findings extend knowledge of attribution processes in sport and could inform researchers and sport psychologists in determining interventions of choice to assist athletes and coaches.

Additional Information

Doctor of Applied Psychology (Sport)

Item type Thesis (Other Degree thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Keywords coaches, coaching, cognition, Australian football, mental state, antecedent conditions, causal ascriptions, causal attribution, sports, Australia
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