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Attribution style in adolescents with Down’s sindrome


Educational research places emphasis on the fact that individuals who have experienced repeated failures may develop an attribution profile characterized by a bias towards primarily external causes. The aim of this study is to compare the attribution style of adolescents with Down's syndrome with that of normal children and adolescents matched for mental and chronological age; three groups consisting of 10 participants each were employed, an experimental group and two control groups were employed. The experimental group were Down's syndrome adolescents. Participants in the first control group were matched to the experimental groups for mental age, and those in the second for chronological age. All of the 30 participants were given an attribution test consisting of 14 items, illustrative of everyday or school‐related events in which the main character experienced either success or failure. The participants were asked to attribute the character's performance to one of five causes: ability, effort, help, luck or task difficulty. The results show that adolescents with Down's syndrome tend to attribute performance to external help. Their attribution style would seem to be very similar to that of the control participants matched for mental age.