Self-Affirmation Buffers Claimed Self-Handicapping? A Test of Contextual and Individual Moderators


Researchers have argued that the strategies individuals use for self-esteem regulation are interchangeable. In the present study, we examined whether previous self-affirmation reduces the amount of subsequent claimed self-handicapping. More importantly, we tested potential moderators of these effects. Following negative feedback on an intelligence test, 56 female college students were given the opportunity to affirm themselves either within the threatened intelligence domain or within a domain unrelated to the source of threat (e.g., musicality). Results revealed that subjects handicapped less when they had previously affirmed themselves in a domain which was unrelated to the threatening domain (contextual moderator). However, these effects were moderated by dispositional self-esteem (individual moderator). High self-esteem participants claimed fewer handicaps the more they felt self-affirmed whereas claimed self-handicapping among low self-esteem participants was not affected by previous self-affirmation. Altogether, our findings suggest certain limitations on the substitutability of self-protection processes.

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Tandler, S. , Schwinger, M. , Kaminski, K. & Stiensmeier-Pelster, J. (2014). Self-Affirmation Buffers Claimed Self-Handicapping? A Test of Contextual and Individual Moderators. Psychology, 5, 321-327. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.55042.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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