Zbornik Instituta za pedagoska istrazivanja 2011 Volume 43, Issue 2, Pages: 223-238
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General causality orientations and defensive attributions of failure on academic exam

Bodroža Bojana, Mirkov Snežana

Defensive behaviour after failure, such as denial of the responsibility for own achievement, reduces person’s openness for further learning and development and, thus, is undesirable in pedagogical practice. General causality orientations success-fully predict defensive behaviours after failure. Autonomous causality orientation implies behaviours motivated by personal growth and development, while controlling orientation purports ego-involved behaviours aimed at proving one's own self-worth. The research was conducted with the aim of testing two hypotheses (additive and synergistic) about the influence of general causality orientations and their combinations on defensive attribution of failure on the exam. After their faculty exam, N=158 psychology students answered questions about the expected grade and they filled out two questionnaires: Attribution of Success on the Test and General Causality Orientation Scale. The results showed that internal attribution of success is related to greater expected grade and higher autonomous causality orientation. External attribution was characteristic for individuals with high controlling causal orientation. It was confirmed that general causality orientations can predict the way a person perceives academic success. Thus, we give recommendations on how to support and encourage autonomous and discourage controlling behaviours of students.

Keywords: attribution of success, general causality orientations, additive and synergistic model, self-determination theory