Reducing the tendency to self-handicap: The effect of self-affirmation

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Self-handicapping, the creating or claiming of obstacles to one's performance to influence explanations given for subsequent outcomes, has been shown to have a host of attitudinal and behavioral consequences. Given the wide ranging impact of self-handicapping, it is important to understand the conditions under which self-handicapping is more or less likely to occur. Accordingly, the present study tested the hypothesis that people will be less likely to engage in self-handicapping if they have previously engaged in self-affirmation. The results of this study found that self-affirmation was more effective in reducing self-handicapping behavior when individuals experienced non-contingent success than when they experience contingent success. Theoretical contributions to the self-handicapping and self-affirmation literatures are discussed, as are practical implications. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Journal of Experimental Social Psychology