Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Psychology

Supervisor

Dr. Donald H. Saklofske

Abstract

Blame attribution (BA) is the complex cognitive-affective process through which individuals feel negative feelings of internalized self-blame/guilt or externalized other-blame by varying degrees. High BA is accompanied by distress, anxiety, depression and reduced health outcomes, while low BA indicates healthful release from negative affect and direction of attention toward past transgressions or negative events. Previous research has demonstrated a multitude of personality and individual difference associations with BA and psychological wellbeing (PWB) in cross-sectional samples, but little focus has been directed at determining if such traits affect changes in (i.e. recovery from) BA and PWB over time. The present study seeks to address this knowledge gap using a widespread blame context: romantic breakup. It was hypothesised that the personality traits of neuroticism (N) and extraversion (E), as well as the individual difference characteristics of trait emotional intelligence (EI), religious-spiritual belief (RSB), and gender would affect blame recovery and PWB change over time. A sample of 302 undergraduates completed measures of BA, PWB, E, EI, N, and RSB in two online sessions approximately 28 days apart. Hierarchical regression results indicate that only EI was influential, leading to increased PWB growth over time and greater reduction in self-blame/guilt. Modelled together, the traits did not explain BA or PWB change, despite various significant correlations with the three outcome variables at the single time point level.


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