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A Follow-up Investigation of the Fundamental Attribution Error in Leisure Education Research

Rodney B. Dieser


The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of the fundamental attribution error among leisure education programs that were treated as independent variables as part of research during the past 10 years (1999-2009). The fundamental attribution error is the tendency to overestimate dispositional or internal attributions of a person when explaining or modifying behavior, and to underestimate the influence of the actual situation or other environmental factors (Ross, 1977). Drawing on a past study that examined the fundamental attribution error in leisure education from 1978 – 1998 (Dieser, Fox, & Walker, 2002), this study examined how leisure education learning components (n = 38) described in studies of leisure education interventions were conceptualized from 1999-2009. Results suggest that, with respect to research-oriented leisure education programs, that leisure education research is still committing the fundamental attribution error. Recommendations regarding future leisure education practice and research are provided.


Attribution theory; ecological approaches; fundamental attribution error; individualism; leisure education; system-directed change

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