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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1986 Apr;50(4):697-702.

On causality, responsibility, and self-blame: a theoretical note.


Examples from the literature on "self-blame" for illness (Tennen, Affleck, & Gershman, 1986) and criminal victimization (Janoff-Bulman, 1979) illustrate insufficient attention to construct validity in the measurement of causality, responsibility, and blameworthiness. Distinctions among these terms have been drawn in detail in a recent theory of the attribution of blame (Shaver, 1985), and these are briefly described. We argue that in future research and theory in the attribution of responsibility and blame, especially self-blame, investigators should attend more carefully to such conceptual distinctions.

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