Young peoples' use of self-handicapping when faced with evaluative threat on a physical skill test
Cooley, PD, Young peoples' use of self-handicapping when faced with evaluative threat on a physical skill test, Proceedings of the 10th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education, 5-8 January 2012, Honolulu, Hawaii, pp. 1293-1320. ISSN 1541-5880 (2012) [Refereed Conference Paper]
Self-handicapping refers to the process whereby people engage in self-defeating
behaviours to proactively obfuscate the link between actor and outcome. Evaluative threat from either non-contingent success or failure is proposed to elicit episodes of self-handicapping. Furthermore each evaluative threat condition is associated with a specific form of self-handicap (effort withdrawal & self-reports of disruption to performance, respectively). This experiment used a stratified random sample of young people aged between 10 and 16 (N= 250), to explore differences in young peoples' use of different self-handicaps in response to different evaluative threats associated with a test of athletic skill. The study used an AXB design, with participants' exposed to a two test scenario with the opportunity to self-handicap after receiving bogus performance scores on the first test. Results showed there were significant differences between type of self-handicap and evaluative threat condition. After being exposed to one of three evaluative conditions (non-contingent success, non-contingent failure, & non-evaluative) after the first test, only young people aged over 13 who were exposed to non-contingent failure, reported experiencing significantly more performance impediments such as illness and sports injuries than participants in either the non-contingent success or non-evaluative conditions. Participants in the non-contingent failure condition reported that the impediments would have a significantly greater debilitative effect on their second test performance than participants in either the non-contingent success or non-evaluative conditions. This same pattern of results was not evident for the use of effort withdrawal as a self-handicap in any evaluative condition. The implications of these findings on how teachers and coaches use performance feedback are discussed.
Refereed Conference Paper
self-hm1dicapping, evaluative self-reports or performance disruption, effort withdrawal