The effects of stress, ambiguity tolerance, and trait anxiety on the formation of causal relationships

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Abstract

To date, the study of stress-related attributions of causality has been largely confined to stressed persons' attempts to unearth the immediate causes of their plight. The present study tested the proposition that a heightened need for a determinist view of the environment is a generalized response to stress. Accordingly, stress was hypothesized to strengthen the tendency of individuals to apply causal explanations to events of any kind, including events that do not directly affect them or are unrelated to their condition. This general hypothesis was confirmed by the results of three experiments. Explanations of these results in terms of information processing models and of the need to maintain control in the face of adversity were discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-107
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1991

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