Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Nathan Bowling (Advisor), Gary Burns (Committee Member), David Lahuis (Committee Member), Tamera Schneider (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Causal attributions can play an integral part in how employees respond to events in the work environment (Bowling and Beehr, 2006; Dasborough and Ashkanasy, 2002; Perrewé and Zellars, 1999). Causal attributions of a work behavior or event include locus of causality (i.e., self-directed, supervisor-directed, organization-directed), stability, and intentionality (i.e., altruistic, self-serving). In the current study, I examined the consequences of subordinates' causal attributions on responses to emotional and instrumental supervisor support. As expected, emotional and instrumental supervisor support were positively associated with job satisfaction, supervisor satisfaction, organizational citizenship behaviors, and organizational commitment assessed 30 days later. Emotional supervisor support also had a weak positive relationship with physical health, whereas instrumental supervisor support was unrelated to physical health. Several causal attributions were found to moderate the relationships between supervisor support and positive criteria, but the moderating effects varied depending upon the type of supervisor support provided, the causal attribution, and the criteria being predicted. Overall, the moderating effects of causal attributions were most common when pertaining to emotional supervisor support and predicting either job satisfaction or supervisor satisfaction. Implications of the current study include, but not limited to, an emphasis on training supervisor's to provide emotional support that is perceived as stable and altruistic. In addition, future researchers should further examine the effects of attributions on criteria that pertain to an employee's self concept.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Psychology

Year Degree Awarded