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ERIC Number: ED260335
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Apr
Pages: 10
Abstractor: N/A
Self-Handicapping by Task Choice: An Attribute Ambiguity Analysis.
Handelsman, Mitchell M.; And Others
Self-handicapping strategies are behaviors or choices of performance settings which allow people to maintain self-esteem by avoiding negative self-relevant attributions. People will behave in such a way that accurate, nonambiguous attributions about their performance cannot be made. Research on self-handicapping has focused on clinically relevant behaviors such as drug choice, alcohol consumption, and test anxiety. A study was conducted to explore self-handicapping as a more general phenomenon. Task choice as a self-handicapping strategy was assessed under different conditions of attribute ambiguity. College students (N=43) were asked to sign up for one of two tests of social competence. One of the tests was described as an accurate measure, the other as a difficult and inaccurate test. Choice of the inaccurate test was believed to be a self-handicapping strategy, since it would allow subjects to avoid negative self-relevant information. For half the subjects (low ambiguity) the two tests were presented as being in the same format, while for the other half (high ambiguity) the tests were presented as being in different formats. The results showed that subjects in the high ambiguity condition self-handicapped more than subjects in the low ambiguity condition. Subjects in the high ambiguity condition could attribute their choice to format, rather than the less socially desirable motive of avoiding accurate information. (Author/NRB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A