Requests for reprints should be sent to Lauren B. Alloy, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, 1859 Sheridan Road, Evanston, Illinois 60201.
The role of perceptions and attributions for response-outcome noncontingency in learned helplessness: A commentary and discussion
Article first published online: 28 APR 2006
Journal of Personality
Volume 50, Issue 4, pages 443–479, December 1982
How to Cite
Alloy, L. B. (1982), The role of perceptions and attributions for response-outcome noncontingency in learned helplessness: A commentary and discussion. Journal of Personality, 50: 443–479. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.1982.tb00229.x
Preparation of this article was supported by a research grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and by a Biomedical Research Support Grant RR 07028–13 to Lauren Alloy.
- Issue published online: 28 APR 2006
- Article first published online: 28 APR 2006
- Manuscript received July 27, 1982
Three papers in the Journal of Personality (Oakes & Curtis, 1982; Tennen, Drum, Gillen, & Stanton, 1982; Tennen, Gillen, & Drum, 1982) report that behavioral deficits characteristic of learned helplessness occur independently of perceptions of and attributions for noncontingency. The present article discusses the problems for the cognitive mediational component of helplessness theory raised by these three papers. It is argued that while these papers do not seriously challenge helplessness theory because they fail to test adequately the central proposition of the model, they point to the theory's need for greater elaboration of the processes or mechanisms linking objective experiences, perceptions, attributions, expectations, and behavioral effects of uncontrollability. Suggestions for some of the additional mediational processes a revised helplessness theory should incorporate are offered, followed by a discussion of the role of these processes in leading to the relatively greater support found for perceptions and attributions as mediators of behavioral helplessness in natural vs. laboratory environments.