University of Leicester
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Attributional change in mothers of children with conduct problem behaviours

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:46 authored by Rachel. Holl
This study examines the spontaneous causal attributions made by mothers about their child's behaviour, before and after they attended a Behaviour Management Group for the management of their child's conduct problem behaviours. The attributions of eight mothers were extracted and coded from discourse using the Leeds Attributional Coding System. It was found that mothers made more attributions to positive child behaviours, and fewer to negative child behaviours following the intervention. As predicted there were some changes from pre- to post-intervention in the nature of attributions made. For all types of child behaviour mothers shifted towards causal attributions which were universal, specific and internal to themselves post-intervention. Negative child behaviours were attributed to causes which were more unstable and specific following the intervention, suggesting mothers explanations were more benign post-intervention. Positive child behaviours were more often attributed to causes which were controllable to the mothers post-intervention, suggesting they were taking some credit for the emergence of such behaviours. Methodological issues, proposals for further research and clinical implications are discussed.


Date of award


Author affiliation

Clinical Psychology

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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