An application of attribution theory to clinical judgment

Jennifer Murray, Mary E. Thomson

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The current article presents an application of attribution theory to clinical judgment, with a focus on the theory’s application to clinical judgments of violence risk assessment. While attribution theory has been applied to many diverse fields of human behavior, a comparatively limited level of research and discussion has been raised regarding its application to the very relevant and practical study of clinical decision making (Elbogen, 2002). The current article argues that is not only important for practicing clinicians to understand the way in which their client attributes causality to their behaviour in order to improve upon the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions, but also emphasizes the importance of recognizing and understanding the way in which the clinician attributes causality to the clients behaviour, and how this may affect the development of suitable therapeutic interventions and risk management plans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-104
Number of pages9
JournalEurope's Journal of Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2009


  • clinical judgment
  • psychology
  • violence risk assessment
  • attribution


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