Understanding Failure in the Job Acquisition Process: An Attributional Approach

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This study examines differences in the attributions made by nondisabled observers of failure to obtain employment by disabled versus nondisabled job applicants. Four experimental groups, each consisting of 30 subjects, read stimulus material in which an unsuccessful job applicant was described as alcoholic, mentally ill, deaf, or nondisabled, respectively. The subjects were then asked to respond to a scale constructed to test for four sources of attribution of failure to secure the job: ability and effort (sources that are attributed to the person) and task difficulty and luck (sources typically attributed to the situation). Implications for understanding the effects of different attributions on client motivation are discussed and suggestions for further research are made.

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