Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Wayne Harrison

Second Advisor

James Thomas

Third Advisor

Cassia C. Spohn


Theories of both distributive (Adams, 1963) and procedural justice (Thibaut & Walker, 1975) have been demonstrated to be accurate in describing subjective evaluations of fairness in a wide variety of circumstances. However, a phenomenon known as the frustration effect (e.g. Folger, 1977) results in perceptions of fairness that are incongruent with the predictions of these two theories. This study attempts to explain the discrepant results in terms of attribution theory as it was proposed by Weiner (1985). By manipulating and measuring the attributions made by subjects, the attributional explanation was tested. The results of this experiment were not supportive of this theoretical perspective, but several methodological factors may have hampered this attempt. The results and methodological difficulties encountered in this experiment are discussed in terms of their implications for future studies of the frustration effect.

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