Attribution training as an adjunct to self-instructional training in producing generalization of treatment effects

Judith Greenberg Tartell, Fordham University


The present study sought to enhance treatment generalization of a cognitive-behavioral program for impulsive children. These children were also determined not to hold effort-oriented attributions for academic achievement. It was the theoretical position of the study that a group receiving Self-Instructional Training (SIT) combined with Attribution Training (AT) would be more likely to exhibit generalization of treatment effects to a classroom setting than children receiving only SIT or AT. It was also hypothesized that the SIT/AT group would be more likely to transfer training to a task of persistence behavior. Children were identified by teacher referral, scores on the Self-Control Rating Scale (SCRS), the Matching Familiar Figures Test (MFFT), and the Intellectual Achievement Responsibility (IAR) Questionnaire. Eighteen children in grades 3, 4, and 5 were randomly assigned to one of the three treatment groups. One group received a 12-session SIT program. A second group received Attribution Training designed to enhance a child's effort attribution statements. A third group combined the two approaches. An analysis of gain scores did not indicate that the three treatment groups were differentially effective in modifying self-control, impulsive behavior, attributions of responsibility for intellectual achievement, or persistence. T-test analysis of individual groups indicated that the SIT group and the AT group showed a decrease in errors on the MFFT. The SIT group also demonstrated a statistically significant mean increase on a task measuring persistence behavior. No significant changes were demonstrated by any group on the IAR, a measure of responsibility a child takes for intellectual responsibility. Given the small samples used in the study, these significant findings should be interpreted with caution. Treatment generalization was not enhanced by the addition of AT in the present study. Future research should be directed to developing a better match between target behaviors and treatment program, and to matching attributions with tasks.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Special education

Recommended Citation

Tartell, Judith Greenberg, "Attribution training as an adjunct to self-instructional training in producing generalization of treatment effects" (1988). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8821965.