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Ethnic differences and domain specificity in young adolescents’ implicit beliefs about intelligence

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Title: Ethnic differences and domain specificity in young adolescents’ implicit beliefs about intelligence
Author: Pacheva, Daniela Jivkova
Degree Master of Arts - MA
Program Special Education
Copyright Date: 1998
Abstract: The present study examined the presence of ethnic and school - subject domain differences in implicit beliefs about the malleability of intelligence and in attributions for academic success and failure in a sample of 204 Asian -Canadian (N=146) and Caucasian- Canadian (N= 58) eighth-grade students. Students were given a questionnaire measuring their attributions for success and failure in the domains of math/science and language arts/social studies and their beliefs about the malleability of intelligence in general, as well as in the domains of math/science and language arts/social studies. The analyses of the data failed to detect ethnic differences in both attributions and implicit beliefs. The students, however, demonstrated different attributional patterns in the two academic domains. All students distinguished the two domains by attributing failure to effort more often in language arts/social studies and failure to ability in math/science. The study found that students could hold domain specific beliefs about the malleability of intelligence related to the different school - subject domains. Students demonstrating a maladaptive attributional pattern held predominantly the view that intelligence is not malleable, whereas students demonstrating an adaptive attributional pattern held predominantly the view that abilities can be changed through investment of effort. In addition, there was a domain - to - domain correspondence between attributional patterns and implicit beliefs about abilities. The study provides evidence that students perceive differently abilities in the domains of math/science and language arts/social studies, and they demonstrate different motivational tendencies in these domains. Variance in the attributions across domains was parallel to the changes in implicit beliefs in the respective domains, indicating a relation between the two constructs, although additional variables should be considered for explaining the influence of beliefs about intelligence on academic motivation. The findings from the study are discussed in light of contemporary models of achievement motivation and potential educational implications are described.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/7989
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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