Adaptive thinking: Can adaptive dispositional attributions protect against the harmful effects of maladaptive situational attributions?

Ross M. Murray*, Pete Coffee, Robert C. Eklund

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objectives: The study was designed to examine if dispositional team-referent attributions moderate relationships between situational team-referent attributions and collective efficacy. Design: In this cross-sectional design investigation, team athletes completed measures of dispositional team-referent attributions, situational team-referent attributions, and collective efficacy. Team outcome (i.e., win-loss status) was recorded. Method: Athletes (N = 163) on sport teams (K = 17) completed a measure of dispositional team-referent attributions (i.e., attributional style). They also completed a measure of situational team-referent attributions in reference to their most recent team competition and a measure of collective efficacy in reference to their next upcoming team competition. Results: Following team victory, simple slopes analysis revealed a moderating effect such that adaptive dispositional team-referent attributions appeared to protect against the effects of maladaptive situational team-referent attributions on collective efficacy. This trend was demonstrated across stability and globality attribution dimensions. Following team defeat, no significant interaction effects were observed. Conclusions: The results suggest that developing adaptive dispositional attributions after success may protect athletes from experiencing deleterious effects of maladaptive situational attributions. Future research is needed to confirm these results and understand how these results can be applied to attributional retraining interventions in sport.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101620
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Collective efficacy
  • Globality
  • Moderation
  • Stability
  • Team-referent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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