Belciug, M. P. (1992). Effects of prior expectancy and performance outcome on attributions to stable factors in high-performance competitive athletics. S. A. Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation, 14(2), 1-8.

Athletes (N = 98) attributed causes to the outcome of their participation in two consecutive athletics contests and rated those causes on the Causal Dimensional Scale, and their future expectancy of success for the second and next competition on a 13-point scale. The sample was divided into low- and high-expectancy groups. Stable factors (e.g., ability) and unstable factors (e.g., luck/mood) were assessed.

  1. Only when prior expectancy was high was confirmation of that expectancy attributed to stable factors and disconfirmation attributed to variable factors.
  2. When prior expectancy was low both confirmation and disconfirmation of that expectancy was attributed to variable factors.
  3. Correlations between stability scores and future expectancy of success were not significant.
  4. Only marginal support was received for the importance of stability factors being related to expectancy of success.

Implication. When athletes are sure their impending competitive efforts will be successful, a success reinforces their perceptions of control and knowing what caused it. When a failure occurs, reasons are not readily identified and so excuses contain variable and vague content. However, when athletes are not confident of performing well, their reasons for both success and failure will be vague. Thus, it is best to have athletes expect to perform to a standard that is based on justifiable reasons usually reflected by their training accomplishments.

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