Children's Causal Scripts and Derogation of the Poor. An Attributional Analysis

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Subjects in kindergarten, Grades 2, 4, and 6 were asked to provide causal scripts for poverty and wealth. From an attributional framework, it was predicted that only subjects who perceive choice in becoming wealthy or poor would derogate the poor. Although there was little derogation overall, the results supported attribution-theoretic predictions. Whereas all children provided choice and no-choice scripts for poverty and wealth, only those who used choice scripts for wealth and few no-choice scripts for poverty derogated the poor. Derogation was found to be a developmental phenomenon, and the number of causal scripts for wealth attainment or loss also increased with age. All subjects except those in kindergarten recognized that wealth attainment was difficult, whereas becoming poor was easy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791-798
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1985


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