Spink, K. S., & Roberts, G. C. (1980). Ambiguity of outcome and causal attributions. Journal of Sport Psychology, 2, 237-244.

Performance outcomes which were understood by athletes were attributed to internal factors, that is, factors over which the athlete has control. When outcomes were ambiguous (not clear or could be interpreted a number of ways), they were attributed to external events. This suggests that certainty and decision-making will be elevated when the activities to be performed in a contest are self-controlled (internal).

Implication. Contest goals and plans should consist of events over which the athlete has control.

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