Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Investigating the Relationship between Self-Handicapping Tendencies, Self-Esteem and Cognitive Distortions

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Investigating the Relationship between Self-Handicapping Tendencies, Self-Esteem and Cognitive Distortions

Article excerpt

Jones and Berglas (1978) have described self-handicapping as a set of behavioral strategies enacted before a performance that permits the individual to externalize failure and internalize success (as cited in Rhodewalt & Davison, 1986). In other words, it refers the adoption and use of obstacles that will result in failure in situations when the likelihood of success is low (Martin & Brawley, 1999). Therefore, self-handicapping is concerned with the creation of obstacles that will make success difficult in order to make excuses for a potential failure. In the event of failure, the individual attributes it to these obstacles and externalizes the source of failure (Rhodewalt, 1994). If an individual performs well, they will have proven that success has been made in spite of the negative conditions or obstacles they have created for themselves (Ferrari & Tice, 2000). Therefore, one wins in both cases because they have a ready and plausible excuse for failure, or in the event of success, they will have the right to boast that success was made in spite of negative conditions, thus increasing its value (Alter & Forgas, 2007). Self-handicapping is paradoxical in nature. While it protects or reinforces self-esteem, it also damages performance. When chronic, however, it leads to an increase in inadaptability, negative affectation, somatic symptoms, and substance abuse; it also lowers internal motivation, physical and psychological well-being, and satisfaction obtained from ability (Abaci & Akm, 2011, p. 69). Zuckerman and Tsai (2005) proposed that the consequences of self-handicapping behaviors can be negative for at least three reasons: (i) some self-handicapping behaviors (e.g., alcohol consumption) are debilitating in and of themselves, (ii) self-handicaps eventually impede performance and these performance decrements may have wide ranging effects on adjustment and well-being, and (Hi) self-handicapping that is addressed internally is likely to involve self-deception. Self-handicapping has also been linked with negative outcomes such as higher levels of depression and anxiety, and reduced self-esteem (Kearns, Forbes, & Gardiner, 2007).

The literature deals with two forms of self-handicapping: claimed self-handicapping and behavioral self-handicapping. Claimed self-handicapping strategies include ones claim that they are sick, socially anxious, in a bad mood, or a victim of traumatic life experiences. On the other hand, behavioral strategies include actions that will directly impede performance, such as modifying the quality or quantity of a practice, creating physical problems like diseases and injuries or exaggerating already existing ones, and focusing on real or perceived defects (such as alcohol and drug use, or lack of a work/study habit) (Prapavessis & Grove, 1998).

The present study deals with cognitive distortions which are thought to be another factor in self-handicapping. According to A. T. Beck (1976), cognitive distortions are an individuals wrong or rationalized attitudes towards, opinions of, and beliefs in, their own or others' social behaviors. According to J. S. Beck (2006), there are five fundamental cognitive distortions that cause emotional stress. These are personalization, polarized thinking (all-or-nothing thinking), selective abstraction, arbitrary inference, and overgeneralization. According to A. T. Beck (1976), many disorders stem from an individual's negative thoughts about themselves, their surroundings, and their future. The cognitive structure in Beck's model was formed mostly for disorders like depression and anxiety. According to A. T. Beck's (1976) formulation, early experiences lead to the development of non-functional schemas about one's self and the world. These schemas pave the way for depression. In addition, non-functional beliefs in cognitive structure form one's thoughts, and they are intensely used by individuals who have problems with themselves. Developed by Beck and friends, the concept of cognitive triad is explained as ". …

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