Sport Psychology Group Cohesion and Self-Handicapping in Female and Male Athletes
There were two main purposes in the present study. The first was to identify the nature of the self-handicaps reported by elite female and male athletes (N = 245). School commitments and sport problems represented the most frequently cited impediments. Female athletes reported a significantly greater number of disruptions and had a greater tendency to report that sport problems, physical state/illness, and family/friend problems hindered their preparation. The second purpose was to determine whether cohesion would moderate the extent to which athletes would use self-handicapping strategies prior to competition. Hierarchical multiple regression revealed that cohesion was a moderator in the relationship between the trait of self-handicapping (Excuse Making) and the use of self-handicapping for both female and male elite athletes. Results of post hoc analyses indicated that athletes who were highly predisposed to self-handicap and who perceived their group as more cohesive, had a greater tendency to proactively perceive impediments to subsequent performance.