The Rise and Fall of Political Leaders: Attributions, Deservingness, Personality, and Affect

N. T. Feather

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    27 Citations (Scopus)


    This study investigated subjects' attitudes towards three political leaders, one of whom was the ex‐Prime Minister of Australia (Hawke), one the current Prime Minister (Keating), and one the leader of the opposition party (Hewson). Hypotheses were developed in the context of attribution theory and a conceptual analysis of deservingness that focussed on perceived responsibility for outcomes and balanced relations between positively or negatively valued actions and the positively or negatively valued outcomes to which they lead. A sample of the general population of Adelaide, South Australia (N = 204) completed a questionnaire containing items designed to assess causal attributions for each leader's success or failure, deservingness, affect, personality characteristics, and perceived responsibility. The results replicated previous findings and supported the theoretical analysis. Deservingness was related to causal attributions, to the personality attributes of each leader, and to perceived responsibility. Deservingness was also a consistent predictor of affective reactions and perceived personality characteristics also played a part. 1993 Australian Psychological Society

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)61-68
    Number of pages8
    JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 1993

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