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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Sebastiano Fisicaro

Abstract

This study developed and evaluated a measure of implicit dispositional tendencies associated with lateness, absenteeism, and permanent withdrawal behaviors. The conditional reasoning framework developed by Lawrence James and colleagues was adopted. Novel cognitive biases or justification mechanisms associated with withdrawal were proposed, drawing on research and theory from the attribution (marginalization of withdrawal), commitment (revocable commitment), and fairness/equity (social injustice bias) domains. As part of the empirical validation design, college students enrolled in an Introductory Psychology course completed the conditional reasoning measure, and corresponding behavioral withdrawal criteria were collected unobtrusively throughout the 16-week course. Results of scale development analyses pointed to a subset of items (13 of 25) with positive evidence of predictive validity and indicated that the items assess largely heterogeneous content, possessing low internal consistency. Results of hypothesis testing revealed positive and statistically significant predictive relationships for revocable commitment and social injustice (i.e., higher scores on the conditional reasoning items associated with higher frequencies of the withdrawal behaviors), but not for marginalization of withdrawal. Taken together, these results provide initial evidence for the role of implicit dispositional tendencies in the withdrawal process and underscore potential avenues for further development of a conditional reasoning test of withdrawal.