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J Behav Med. 2002 Aug;25(4):373-94.

Illness causal attributions: an exploratory study of their structure and associations with other illness cognitions and perceptions of control.

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Department of Psychology, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, 69978 Tel Aviv, Israel.


Two studies were conducted to investigate the cognitive organization and psychological meaning of illness causes. Using a direct similarity judgment method (Study 1), illness causes were found cognitively organized in a hierarchical configuration that could meaningfully be represented as a tree with three main branches--environmental, behavioral, and hidden causes--that further divided into subcategories. This classification of illness causes was associated with other components of the illness schema, namely, the consequences and control/cure dimensions, but not with timeline perceptions (Study 2). Perceptions of control were significantly associated with the cognitive organization of illness causal attributions. Personal relevancy was found as a moderator of illness causal attributions, influencing the relationships between attributions and other illness cognitions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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