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Self-Handicapping

Definition

Self-handicapping was first defined in 1978 by Steven Berglas and Edward Jones as “any action or choice of performance setting that enhances the opportunity to externalize (or excuse) failure and to internalize (reasonably accept credit for) success.” Self-handicapping involves putting a barrier or handicap in the way of one's own success. If one fails, then the failure can be blamed on the handicap rather than on (the lack of) one's innate ability. If one succeeds despite the handicap, then one can claim extra credit for success because one succeeded despite the impediment to success. Thus, self-handicapping both protects the person from the implications of failure and enhances the success if one should succeed despite the handicap. Self-handicapping may be used to protect or enhance a ...

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