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One hundred and three athletes participated in a motor task that was ostensibly designed to detect their physical ability (high ego-threatening condition) or provide pretesting data for an upcoming study (low ego-threatening condition) and were then given the opportunity to claim handicaps that could impair their performance on this task. Extending previous findings that high self-handicappers (i.e., athletes who scored high on the self-handicapping scale) and low self-esteem athletes engage in claimed self-handicapping in high ego-threatening conditions, the results reveal that they may also engage in this strategy in low ego-threatening conditions. In the low ego-threatening condition, athletes’ self-esteem and self-handicapping tendency explained together 33% of the handicaps they claimed.
Finez and Berjot are with the Laboratory of Applied Psychology, University of Reims Champagne Ardennes, Reims, France. Rosnet is with INSEP, French National Institute of Sport, Paris, France. Cleveland is with the Dept. of Psychology, Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA.