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Abstract

The term self-handicapping was introduced by Jones and Berglas (1978) to refer to the creation of barriers to successful performance for the purpose of controlling attributions about the self. In the event of failure, attributions to lack of ability are diminished or discounted because of the handicap and, in the event of success, attributions to ability are enhanced or augmented because of the handicap. This article reviews over 25 years of research on self-handicapping. A process model is presented in which individual differences in goals and concerns dynamically interact with situational threats to elicit self-handicapping behavior which produces consequences that perpetuate the use of the behavior in future situations.