Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Self-Serving Attribution Biases in the Competitive Context of Organized Sport
2019 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc. This meta-analysis explored the magnitude of self-serving attribution biases for real-world athletic outcomes. A comprehensive literature search identified 69 studies (160 effect sizes; 10,515 athletes) that were eligible for inclusion. Inverse-variance weighted random-effects meta-analysis showed that sport performers have a tendency to attribute personal success to internal factors and personal failure to external factors (k = 40, standardized mean difference [SMD] = 0.62), a tendency to attribute team success to factors within the team and team failure to factors outside the team (k = 23, SMD = 0.63), and a tendency to claim more personal responsibility for team success and less personal responsibility for team failure (k = 4, SMD = 0.28). There was some publication bias and heterogeneity in computed averages. Random effects meta-regression identified sample sex, performance level, and world-region as important moderators of pooled mean effects. These findings provide a foundation for theoretical development of self-serving tendencies in real-world settings.