Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Jones and Berglas first described the phenomena they termed self-handicapping in 1978, proposing that under certain circumstances some people will behave in ways to nearly ensure their failure on an evaluative task. Berglas and Jones (1978) primarily applied their paradigm to alcohol consumption and underachievement. Snyder and Smith (1982) expanded the definition of self-handicapping behavior to include the strategic use of symptoms. This thesis investigated the ability of the Self-Handicapping Scale, developed by Jones and Rhodewalt (1982), to predict the use of anxiety as a self-handicapping strategy. Antithetic to the study’s hypotheses, those who scored higher on the Self - Handicapping Scale did not necessarily report greater anxiety change while anticipating a failure situation (n=64, Anxiety Change scores: MHH=9.03 & MLH=5.88) with F (1,63) =2.825 at p=.098. Most participants reported an increased anxiety change score regardless of their SHS scores. In addition, the availability of anxiety as a viable handicap did not impact the degree to which high self-handicappers reported anxiety changes, although, anxiety scores increased significantly from the first to the second measure of anxiety (F(1,63)=46.45, p<.01.


Robert Markley

Date of Award

Spring 2001

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 2001 Monica J. Fellhoelter


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