Title

Growth Motivation Moderates a Self-Serving Attribution Bias in the Health Domain

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-1-2018

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Past research on the self-serving attribution bias has shown that people typically protect their self-worth by attributing shortcomings to external factors to avoid personal responsibility. Subsequent work suggests that this pattern is attenuated among individuals highly motivated to achieve personal growth. We attempted to conceptually replicate past research on this moderating effect in a novel context. After measuring personality variation in growth motivation, participants (N = 126 college students) were randomly provided feedback implying that they were less healthy than their peers (failure), healthier than their peers (success) or a no feedback control. We found that among participants receiving failure feedback, growth motivation negatively predicted the extent to which participants attributed health outcomes to luck. While the expected pattern of the self-serving attribution bias was implied at very low levels of growth motivation, failure caused high growth-motivation participants to believe that their health was less influenced by chance factors.

Publication Title

Personality and Individual Differences

Volume

134

First Page

60

Last Page

65

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