Battling doubt by avoiding practice: The effects of stereotype threat on self-handicapping in White athletes

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Abstract

Two experiments examined the use of behavioral self-handicapping as a strategy for coping with stereotype threat. Using sports as the performance context, it was predicted that if a sports test was framed as a measure of "natural athletic ability," White participants would feel threatened about confirming the negative stereotype about poor White athleticism and would practice less before the lest as compared to control groups. The data from Experiment 1 supported the prediction and showed that the effect of stereotype threat on self-handicapping was moderated by participants' level of psychological engagement in sports. Experiment 2 showed that engaged White participants practiced less than engaged Hispanic participants when their performance was linked to natural athletic ability. The discussion focuses on the processes by which the salience of a negative stereotype in a performance context induces proactive strategies for coping with the implications of a poor performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1667-1678
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
Volume28
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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