Blases in relapse attributions made by alcoholics and their wives

James R. Mckay, Timothy J. O'Farrell, Stephen A. Maistro, Gerard J. Connors, David C. Funder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Although numerous studies have investigated the relapse attributions of alcoholics, few have considered the biases inherent in such attributions. Two sources of bias were investigated in the relapse attributions of 26 alcoholic men and their wives: the passage of time and actor-observer perspective. As predicted: (a) Wives made more dispositional attributions than their husbands (an actor-observer difference); (b) the attributions of the husbands showed a dispositional shift over time, while their wives' attributions showed no temporal effects; and (c) attributional concordance within couples increased over time. Several explanations for these results were considered and implications for couples therapy with recovering alcoholics and their spouses were discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-522
Number of pages10
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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