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CAUSAL ATTRIBUTIONS AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SELF-EFFICACY IN PREDICTING SOLUTIONS TO POVERTY

CHRISTOPHER BRADLEY and DENNIS J. COLE
Sociological Focus
Vol. 35, No. 4 (November 2002), pp. 381-396
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20832181
Page Count: 16
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CAUSAL ATTRIBUTIONS AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SELF-EFFICACY IN PREDICTING SOLUTIONS TO POVERTY
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Abstract

Attributions about the causes of poverty in America and perceptions concerning viable solutions to poverty in America should be related. People who believe that the causes of poverty lie within the individual (i.e., make an internal attribution) should be supportive of the individual taking responsibility for his or her economic situation as the solution to poverty. In contrast, people who believe that the causes of poverty lie outside the control of the individual (i.e., make an external attribution) should perceive governmental assistance programs as a viable solution to poverty. In addition, it is possible that an individual's level of self-efficacy moderates the relationship between attributions as to the causes of poverty and proposals about solutions to poverty. Data used for this investigation were obtained from the Great Lakes Poll, a large-scale telephone survey of residents in the Midwest of the United States and the province of Ontario, Canada. Statistical analysis of the data via OLS regression found no support for the idea that self-efficacy serves as a moderator. However, support was found for the belief that an individual's attributions towards the causes of poverty are consistent with that person's proposed solutions to poverty. Thus, internal attributions towards causation of poverty predict individual solutions to poverty; conversely, external attributions towards causation predict external solutions for poverty.

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