The affective consequences of self-handicapping
Does self-handicapping behavior buffer affect following failure? The present study examined subjects' affect following noncontingent failure feedback on an evaluative task. Experimental subjects chose to listen to either facilitating or impeding music while taking a test of spatial relations. A control group was told that no differences existed between the musical tapes. After controlling for initial affect, subjects who chose to self-handicap on this task were significantly less likely to show decreased positive affect than those who did not. Subjects who self-handicapped also were less likely to report increased negative affect than those who were not given the opportunity to self-handicap. Self-handicappers' actual performance on the task was also better than controls' and marginally better than non-self-handicappers'. Discussion focuses on implications of these findings for the hypothesis of self-handicapping benefits.