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ERIC Number: ED363435
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Mar
Pages: 18
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
An Assessment of the Self-Protective Function of Self-Handicapping.
Steinhauer, Annie; And Others
Self-handicapping is the phenomenon of setting oneself up to fail a feared evaluation task to protect a sense of self-worth. A study examined whether individuals self-handicap to protect a general or global perception of themselves or to protect perceptions of competence in the specific domain being evaluated. Handicapping behaviors related to preparation for and completion of a mock math quiz were examined in 495 junior high school students. Students' perceptions of their math competence were assessed through four scales of self-reported competence, and actual competence was measured through two standardized arithmetic tests. Overraters were expected to self-handicap to sustain their exaggerated positive self-view. In a second test session, student's preparation and handicapping behaviors were determined through a quiz practice sheet, questionnaires regarding claimed effort and excuses, an anxiety inventory, and completion of a math quiz with optional levels of difficulty. Study findings included the following: (1) perceived math competence was generally accurate for most of the students; (2) students who did overrate their math competence did not self-handicap as expected, while underraters did, indicating that the motive was not self-protection but self-consistency or verification, allowing individuals to maintain their current self-view; and (3) students who overrated their competence claimed less anxiety and fewer excuses but tended to choose easier questions than other students, in effect setting themselves up to do well in a self-enhancing way. (BCY)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A