Attribution theory, the study of the causal interpretations that persons give to events in their environment, has recently been a major emphasis in psychological social psychology. This paper explores the utility of the classic theoretical statements in attribution for sociological problems, and reviews the efforts of sociologists to apply attribution concepts in their research. The theory has been criticized regarding its limited applicability to attribution occurring in interaction or in natural contexts. These criticisms are reviewed, as well as arguments for synthesizing attribution theory with symbolic interactionism, and efforts to apply such a synthesis in the areas of labeling, impression management, and accounts. Future research and conceptualization agendas are suggested, along with a research strategy for accomplishing these.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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