Self-Esteem, Self-Handicapping, and Self-Presentation: The Strategy of Inadequate Practice


  • Part of this research was presented in May 1985 at the Midwestern Psychological Association in Chicago, IL

Send all correspondence to Dianne M Tice, Department of Psychology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106


ABSTRACT In two experiments we investigated the causes of low preparatory effort (minimal practicing for an upcoming event that is to be evaluated), a possible form of self-handicapping Experiment 1 found that people with high self-esteem practiced less than people with low self-esteem, although a prior experience of success eliminated this difference Experiment 2 showed that people with high self-esteem practiced less only when the practice duration was publicly known, indicating that they were using a strategic self-presentational ploy rather man responding to superior confidence This difference may reflect a desire to maximize the self-presentation of high ability by appearing to succeed despite minimal preparatory effort These results suggest that this form of self-handicapping is a strategy used by highly confident individuals in uncertain situations to make a favorable impression on others