Attributions of Controllability and Helping Intentions among Students: Moderating Effects of Certain Characteristics of the Helper


  • Matea Kramarić University of Zagreb, Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, Department of Speech and Language Pathology, Zagreb, Croatia
  • Željka Kamenov University of Zagreb, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Zagreb, Croatia


attributions of controllability, helping intentions, students, student characteristics


Previous studies have shown that individual and social factors can moderate the relationship between attributions of controllability, emotions, and helping. The aim of this study was to test the attribution-emotion-helping relationship in the Croatian academic context and to investigate the moderating effects of some student variables, i.e., the helper’s academic field, personal absence from class, and the habit of taking notes in class. We conducted a survey experiment with vignettes describing a student who wants to borrow lecture notes. Participants also estimated how often they take lecture notes and how often they had skipped class in the previous semester. The data were collected from 298 students from three faculties of the University of Zagreb. Although Croatian students generally showed a high willingness to help a classmate in need and the effect of controllability on helping intentions was weak, the results supported the attribution-emotion model. However, the results suggest that some student characteristics may attenuate the relationship between controllability, emotions, and helping. The indirect effect of controllability on helping intentions through sympathy was weaker for participants who frequently skipped classes and rarely had their own lecture notes.