Validation of a New Self-Report Measure of Parental Attributions

Jeffery D. Snarr, Amy M Smith Slep, Vincent P. Grande

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Attributional theory and empirical evidence suggest that a tendency to make stable, global self-causal attributions for undesirable events is associated with negative outcomes. However, existing self-report measures of parental attributions do not account for the possibility that dysfunctional parent-causal attributions for child misbehavior might be important predictors of poor family functioning. To address these concerns, the authors developed and tested a new measure of both parent-causal and child-responsible attributions for child misbehavior in a sample of 453 community couples. Structural validity, convergent validity, discriminant validity, internal consistency, and temporal stability of the new measure were examined. As expected, confirmatory factor analysis resulted in 2 factors, Child-Responsible (9 items) and Parent-Causal (7 items); the final model was cross-validated in a holdout sample. The final scale demonstrated adequate internal consistency (αs = .81-.90), test-retest reliability (rs = .55-.76), and convergent and discriminant validity. Dysfunctional parent-causal and child-responsible attributions significantly predicted parental emotional problems, ineffective discipline, parent-child physical aggression, and low parenting satisfaction. Associations with parent-child aggression and parenting satisfaction were generally larger than with partner aggression and relationship satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-401
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological assessment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • attributions
  • fathers
  • measurement
  • mothers
  • parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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