Developmental Profiles of Finnish Parents' Ability Attributions Regarding Their Child's Successes and Failures in School

[Speaker] Enlund, Emmi:1
[Co-author] Aunola, Kaisa:1, Tolvanen, Asko:1, Lerkkanen, Marja-kristiina:1, Nurmi, Jari-erik:1
1:University of Jyväskylä (Finland)

Previous variable-oriented studies in Western countries have shown that ability is the most commonly used parental causal attribution for a child's success, whereas parents use it rarely to explain child's failure. However, there is a great deal of individual variability and instability in parental ability attributions for their child's performance. In the present study, we applied person-oriented approach to identify different subgroups of parents on the basis of the developmental profiles they show with respect to their ability attributions when their children were in Grades 1-3. Latent profile analysis revealed five different kinds of developmental profiles showing that only approximately 20 % of parents considered ability to be highly important reason for success and over 30 % attributed failure highly to lack of ability. Having a master's degree increased mothers' probability of using ability attributions in child-favoring manner and especially low-performing children were thought to fail, because they lack ability.
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