Weiner's (2000) attributional model of intrapersonal motivations suggests that attributions influence not only people's emotional experiences, but also their behavioral responses to the events that caused these emotions. The current study investigates the causal dimensions (i.e., stability, controllability, locus) of five emotions (i.e., sadness, helplessness, hurt, fear, anger) people commonly experience when they are distressed and in need of emotional support. Participants (N = 258) were asked to identify an upsetting event and subsequently talk about it with a confederate helper in a five-minute conversation. After the conversation, participants completed attribution and emotion indices scales. The events discussed were coded into nine categories (e.g., death of a relative, college performance/job problems, break-ups). Results suggested that the five emotions possess a unique attributional make-up and are uniquely tied to specific events that were discussed by participants. Implications of the results are discussed in the context of providing emotional support to people who experience distress.
- Emotional support