Attributions For Children of Divorce and Foster Youth in an Academic Setting

Open Access
Etzi, Samantha June
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Dr. Sandra Azar, Thesis Supervisor
  • Dr. Jeffrey Love , Honors Advisor
  • divorce
  • foster
  • attributions
  • bias
  • stereotypes
  • implicit biases
  • academic succes
  • academic failure
The objective of this thesis is to examine the attributions people make for children of divorce and foster youth in an academic setting. There is a large area of study that examines the expectations teachers have of children with a label. Most of the research concerns a psychopathology label; however, there is a gap in the literature in examining biases towards children with the label of divorce or foster care. The current aim is to study if people have these biases when attributing reasons for the child’s success or failure in the classroom. The hypothesis is that participants will rate foster youth differently compared to children from intact and divorce homes on both success and failure performance. Each participant was presented with a child of an intact family, a child of a divorce family, and a child of a foster family varying in race and gender. The participants rated attributions for failure or success on a Likert scale. The results were analyzed based on the differences in attributional ratings for success and failure performance. Findings supported the hypothesis in that participants rated failure performance for the foster child higher than the other two labels of divorce and intact, possibly indicating an influence of implicit biases. This suggests that participants were more confident in their attributional ratings for the foster child’s failure performance than success performance. The findings of this study should be replicated and applied to a sample using teachers.