Advertisement

Situational Influences on Self-Handicapping

  • Elizabeth A. Self
Part of the The Springer Series in Social / Clinical Psychology book series (SSSC)

Abstract

Recently I went bowling for the first time in 10 years. There was a reason for my long absence from the alleys. The last time I had spent an evening trying to roll the ball toward the pins, it had perversely clung to the gutters, resulting in an abysmal score that amused by companions. Not finding this especially enjoyable, I abandoned bowling and spent the next decade developing other aspects of myself. On this particular evening, however, a new set of friends persuaded me to join them, and I found myself once again facing the long, polished wood alley surrounded by the sinister gutters and ending in the distant, glimmering pins. “Oh well,” I thought. “What difference does it make? I have nothing to lose.” And I dropped the ball as close to the center of the alley as I could, hoping it would at least roll for a while before coming to a stop. To my surprise it reached the end of the alley and knocked down several pins, delighting both me and my friends.

Keywords

Social Anxiety Test Anxiety Social Psychology Bulletin Situational Influence Midwestern Psychological Association 
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.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Anderson, C. A. (1983). Motivational and performance deficits in interpersonal settings: The effect of attributional style. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45, 1136–1147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arkin, R. M., Appelman, A. J., & Burger, J. M. (1980). Social anxiety, self-presentation, and the self-serving bias in causal attributions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38, 23–35.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arkin, R. M., & Baumgardner, A. H. (1985). Self-handicapping. In J. H. Harvey & G. W. Weary (Eds.), Attribution: Basic issues and applications (pp. 169–202). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  4. Arkin, R. M., Gabrenya, W. K., Jr., Appelman, A. S., & Cochran, S. T. (1979). Self-presentation, self-monitoring, and self-serving bias in causal attribution. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 5, 73–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baumgardner, A. H., Lake, E. A., & Arkin, R. M. (1985). Claiming mood as a self-handicap: The influence of spoiled and unspoiled public identities. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 11, 349–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berglas, S. (1989). Self-handicapping behavior and the self-defeating personality disorder: Toward a refined clinical perspective. In R. C. Curtis (Ed.), Self-defeating behaviors: Experimental research and practical implications (pp. 261–288). New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berglas, S., & Jones, E. E. (1978). Drug choice as a self-handicapping strategy in response to noncontingent success. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36, 405–417.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cantor, N., Markus, H., Niedenthal, P., & Nurius, P. (1986). On motivation and the self-concept. In R. M. Sorrentino & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of motivation and cognition: Foundations of social behavior (pp. 96–127). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  9. Carducci, B. J., & McNeely, J. A. (1981, August). Alcohol and attributions don’t mix: The effect of alcohol on alcoholics’ and nonalcoholics’ attributions of blame for wife abuse. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  10. Cross, S. E., & Markus, H. (1989, May). The role of self-schemas in effective performance. Paper presented at the meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago.Google Scholar
  11. Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations, 7, 117–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gergen, K. J. (1968). Personal consistency and the presentation of the self. In C. Gordon & K. J. Gergen (Eds.), The self in social interaction) (Vol, 1, pp. 299–308). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  13. Gould, R., Brounstein, P. J., & Sigall, H. (1977). Attributing ability to an opponent: Public aggrandizement and private denigration. Sociometry, 40, 254–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Greenberg, J., Pyszczynski, T., & Paisley, C. (1985). Effect of extrinsic incentives on use of test anxiety as an anticipatory attributional defense: Playing it cool when the stakes are high. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47, 1136–1145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Handelsman, M. M., Kraiger, K., & King, C. S. (1985, April). Self-handicapping by task choice: An attribute ambiguity analysis. Paper presented at the meeting of the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association, Tucson, AZ.Google Scholar
  16. Higgins, R. L., & Harris, R. N. (1988). Strategic “alcohol” use: Drinking to self-handicap. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 6, 191–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Higgins, R. L., & Harris, R. N. (1989, April). Self-handicapping social performance through “alcohol” use: The interaction of drinker history and expectancy. Paper presented at the meeting of the Southwestern Psychological Association, Houston, TX.Google Scholar
  18. Higgins, R. L., & Snyder, C. R. (1989). Excuses gone awry: An analysis of self-defeating excuses. In R. C. Curtis (Ed.), Self-defeating behaviors: Experimental research and practical implications (pp. 99–130). New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jones, E. E., & Berglas, S. (1978). Control of attributions about the self through self-handicapping strategies: The appeal of alcohol and the role of underachievement. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 4, 200–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kelley, H. H. (1972). Attribution in social interaction. In E. E. Jones, D. E. Kanouse, H. H. Kelley, R. E. Nisbett, S. Valins, & B. Weiner (Eds.), Attribution: Perceiving the causes of behavior. Morristown, NJ: General Learning Press.Google Scholar
  21. Kolditz, T. A., & Arkin, R. M. (1982). An impression management interpretation of the self-handicapping strategy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 492–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Leary, M. R. (1983). Social anxiousness: The construct and its measurement. Journal of Personality Assessment, 47, 66–75.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Leary, M. R. (1986). The impact of interactional impediments on social anxiety and self-presentation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 22, 122–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Leary, M. R., & Shepperd, J. A. (1986). Behavioral self-handicaps versus self-reported handicaps: A conceptual note. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1265–1268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Leddo, J., Abelson, R. P., & Gross, P. H. (1984). Conjunctive explanations: When two reasons are better than one. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47, 933–943.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Markus, H., & Wurf, E. (1987). The dynamic self-concept: A social psychological perspective. Annual Review of Psychology, 38, 299–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mayerson, N. H., & Rhodewalt, F. (1988). The role of self-protective attributions in the experience of pain. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 6, 203–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mehlman, R. C., & Snyder, C. R. (1985). Excuse theory: A test of the self-protective role of attributions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, 994–1001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pyszczynski, T., & Greenberg, J. (1983). Determinants of reduction in intended effort as a strategy for coping with anticipated failure. Journal of Research in Personality, 17, 412–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rhodewalt, F., & Davison, J. (1986). Self-handicapping and subsequent performance: The role of outcome valence and attributional ambiguity. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 7, 307–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Rhodewalt, F., Saltzman, A. T., & Wittmer, J. (1984). Self-handicapping among competitive athletes: The role of practice in self-esteem protection. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 5, 197–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sachs, P. R. (1982). Avoidance of diagnostic information in self-evaluation of ability. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 8, 242–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Self, E. A. (1989, April). Self-handicapping via a partner in a cooperative task. Paper presented at the meeting of the Southwestern Psychological Association, Houston, TX.Google Scholar
  34. Shepperd, J. A. (1988). Cognitive other-enhancement: Protecting the self by perceiving advantages in a competitor. Unpublished dissertation, University of Missouri, Columbia.Google Scholar
  35. Shepperd, J. A., & Arkin, R. M. (1989a). Determinants of self-handicapping: Task importance and the effects of preexisting handicaps on self-generated handicaps. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 15, 101–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Shepperd, J. A., & Arkin, R. M. (1989b). Self-handicapping: The moderating roles of public self-consciousness and task importance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 15, 252–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Shepperd, J. A., Arkin, R. M., Walker, M., & McSpadden, C. (1989, May). Behavioral otherenhancement: An extension of self-handicapping. Paper presented at the meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago.Google Scholar
  38. Slaughter, J. G., Shaver, K. G., & Arkin, R. M. (1988). Self-assessment and self-protection: The role of uncertainty and response context. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago.Google Scholar
  39. Smith, T. W., Snyder, C. R., & Handelsman, M. M. (1982). On the self-serving function of an academic wooden leg: Test anxiety as a self-handicapping strategy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42, 314–321.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Smith, T. W., Snyder, C. R., & Perkins, S. (1983). The self-serving function of hypochondriacal complaints: Physical symptoms as self-handicapping strategies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 787–797.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Snyder, C. R. (1985). Collaborative companions: The relationship of self-deception and excuse-making. In M. W. Martin (Ed.), Self-deception and self-understanding (pp. 35–51). Lawrence, KS: Regents Press of Kansas.Google Scholar
  42. Snyder, C. R. (1989). Reality negotiation: From excuses to hope and beyond. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 8, 130–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Snyder, C. R., & Higgins, R. L. (1988). Excuses: Their effective role in the negotiation of reality. Psychological Bulletin, 104, 23–35.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Snyder, C. R., & Higgins, R. L. (1989). Reality negotiation and excuse-making: President Reagan’s 4 March 1987 Iran arms scandal speech and other literature. In M. J. Cody and M. L. McLaughlin (Eds.), Psychology of tactical communication (pp. 207–228). Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  45. Snyder, C. R., & Smith, T. W. (1982). Symptoms as self-handicapping strategies: The virtues of old wine in a new bottle. In G. Weary and H. L. Mirels (Eds.), Integrations of clinical and social psychology (pp. 104–127. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Snyder, C. R., Smith, T. W., Augelli, R. W., & Ingram, R. E. (1985). On the self-serving function of social anxiety: Shyness as a self-handicapping strategy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48, 970–980.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Snyder, M. L., Kleck, R. E., Strenta, A., & Mentzer, S. J. (1979). Avoidance of the handicapped: An attributional ambiguity analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 2297–2306.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Springston, F. J., & Chafe, P. M. (1987, June). Impressions of fictional protagonists exhibiting self-handicapping behaviors. Paper presented at the meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association, Vancouver, B.C.Google Scholar
  49. Tetlock, P. E. (1981). The influence of self-presentation goals in attributional reports. Social Psychology Quarterly, 44, 300–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tucker, J. A., Vuchinich, R. E., & Sobell, M. (1981). Alcohol consumption as a self-handicapping strategy. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 90, 220–230.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Trope, Y. (1975). Seeking information about one’s own ability as a determinant of choice among tasks. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 32, 1004–1013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Weidner, G. (1980). Self-handicapping following learned helplessness treatment and the Type A coronary-prone behavior pattern. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 24, 319–325.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth A. Self
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

Personalised recommendations