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Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 147–163 | Cite as

The Double-Edged Sword of Self-Handicapping: Discounting, Augmentation, and the Protection and Enhancement of Self-Esteem

  • David L. Feick
  • Frederick Rhodewalt
Article

Abstract

A field study was conducted to test the hypothesis that discounted and augmented ability self-attributions mediate the interactive effects of claimed self-handicaps and academic success and failure on self-esteem. College students were assessed for individual differences in self-handicapping and self-esteem at the beginning of the term and then completed a checklist of claimed self-handicaps immediately preceding their first in-class exam. At the following class, graded exams were returned to the students, who then completed measures of mood, self-esteem, and performance attributions. High self-handicappers claimed more excuses prior to the test. Among failing students, claimed handicaps were associated with greater discounting of ability attributions and higher self-esteem. Among successful students, claimed handicaps were associated with augmented ability attributions and enhanced self-esteem. However, we failed to find support for sex differences in claimed self-handicapping. The implications of the present research with regard to the functional utility of self-handicapping behavior are discussed.

Keywords

Interactive Effect College Student Individual Difference Social Psychology Field Study 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • David L. Feick
    • 1
  • Frederick Rhodewalt
    • 2
  1. 1.University of UtahUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake City

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