تاکید بر شکست احتمالی: نقش نظارتی مناسب در خودناتوان سازی ادعا شده
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|38287||2009||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 45, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 51–59
Abstract The self-protective mechanism of self-handicapping appears to be motivated by the need to protect ability attributions in the face of concern about possible failure. Indeed, the present research finds a correlation between trait self-handicapping and chronic prevention focus. Moreover, the present research examines the role of “regulatory fit” on the use of claimed self-handicapping by exposing high and low trait self-handicappers to performance situations framed in prevention or promotion terms. Consistent with our regulatory fit hypothesis, high self-handicappers (HSHs) handicapped significantly more (by reporting higher levels of stress) when the task was framed in prevention focus rather than promotion focus terms, and did so even when the viability of the handicap was dubious. Self-handicapping in the prevention focus condition was mediated by elevated feelings of evaluative concern. The findings suggest that conditions of regulatory fit (i.e., HSHs under prevention focus) can lead to increased use of self-handicapping.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Results Post-Manipulation checks Participants showed excellent recall of instruction manipulations. 98.4% of promotion focus participants recalled that scores of 70% or higher indicated high ability, and 96.8% of prevention focus participants correctly recalled that scores below 70% indicated low ability. 98.3% of control participants correctly recalled the cut-off score of 70%. Finally, 99.1% of participants correctly recalled the instructions concerning the relationship (or lack thereof) between stress and test performance. Thus, the manipulation check data revealed that our instruction manipulations were effective. Covariates As anticipated, TAI and SHS scores were highly correlated, r(183) = .60, p < .001, indicating that those high in trait self-handicapping were indeed higher in trait anxiety. Trait anxiety was also significantly correlated with reported stress, r(183) = .37, p < .001. Thus, we included trait anxiety as a covariate in all analyses. Furthermore, strong negative correlations between SHS scores and SES (r(183) = −.44, p < .001) and GPA (r(166) = −.21, p < .01) were obtained. Because both self-esteem (r(182) = −.26, p < .001) and GPA (r(166) = .37, p < .001) were also correlated with reported stress, we treated them as additional covariates. Claimed self-handicapping measure The severity of stress served as our primary index of claimed self-handicapping. Stress scores were calculated by first weighting each checked stress by its corresponding severity rating (1, 2, or 3) and then summing to determine the overall severity of stress reported. Regression analyses were performed, and all included variables were centered and standardized. Given that we had three levels of regulatory focus, we followed Elliot and Harackiewicz (1996) and created two orthogonal contrasts: a regulatory focus contrast that compared promotion (−1) and prevention focus (+1) conditions directly, and a second contrast that compared the two regulatory focus conditions (each weighted −1) to the control condition (+2). The independent variable model included three potential covariates (trait anxiety, self-esteem, GPA), the two orthogonal contrast terms comprising the regulatory focus variable, main effects of the three remaining independent variables (SHS, stress instructions, gender), plus all possible interactions of these five independent variables, for a total of 24 terms. Preliminary analyses found a main effect but no interactive effects of gender. Thus, the interactive terms involving gender were trimmed and only the gender main effect was included in the final model, for a total of 15 terms. The results for this model (F(15, 148) = 8.40, p < .001, R2 = .46) are depicted in Table 1 and revealed several key effects. Trait anxiety was a significant predictor of stress, as was GPA. Over and above these effects, however, we obtained simple main effects of SHS, gender, stress instructions, and the regulatory focus contrast, qualified by regulatory focus contrast × stress, regulatory focus × SHS, and regulatory focus contrast × stress × SHS interactions. Table 1. Regression analyses for effects on total claimed stress Regression model β t p Test anxiety .267 3.07 <.01 GPA −.141 −2.20 <.05 Self-esteem −.034 <1 ns Gender .129 2.05 <.05 Self-handicapping scale score (SHS) .238 3.01 <.01 Stress instruction −.182 −2.71 <.01 Regulatory focus contrast (Promotion vs. prevention) .188 3.03 <.01 Control contrast (control vs. promotion and prevention) −.106 −1.71 ns Stress instructions × SHS −.058 <1 ns Regulatory focus contrast × SHS .166 2.56 <.05 Regulatory Focus Contrast × stress instructions .190 3.09 <.01 Control contrast × SHS −.098 −1.56 ns Control contrast × stress instructions −.102 −1.61 ns Regulatory focus contrast × SHS × stress instructions .145 2.28 <.05 Control contrast × SHS × stress instructions −.067 −1.05 ns R2 = .46, F(15, 148) = 8.40, p < .001 Table options To examine the critical three-way interaction further, we followed the procedures outlined by Aiken and West (1991) for plotting the interaction (using values one SD above and below the mean) and then tested the significance of the simple slopes (cf. Dawson & Richter, 2006). These data are represented in Fig. 1. Results indicated that task framing had profound effects on self-handicapping, but only among HSHs. LSHs were impervious to framing and displayed no evidence of self-handicapping in all conditions (all simple slope ts < 1, ns). Conversely, HSHs were quite sensitive to the framing manipulation. Results for the control condition replicated past findings, such that HSHs claimed greater stress only when stress matters (simple slope t = 4.37, p < .001; see Fig. 1a). Induction of promotion focus reduced self-handicapping among HSHs (t = 1.35, ns, see Fig. 1c), suggesting that framing the task in terms of likelihood of success abates their tendency to self-handicap. (a) Total weighted stress (after factoring out trait anxiety) for the control ... Fig. 1. (a) Total weighted stress (after factoring out trait anxiety) for the control condition as a function of stress instructions and level of self-handicapping. (b) Total weighted stress (after factoring out trait anxiety) for the prevention-focus condition as a function of stress instructions and level of self-handicapping. (c) Total weighted stress (after factoring out trait anxiety) for the promotion focus condition as a function of stress instructions and level of self-handicapping. Figure options As predicted, induction of prevention focus exacerbated claimed self-handicapping by HSHs. However, we surprisingly found no difference in reported stress by HSHs in the stress matters and stress does not matter conditions (t < 1, ns; see Fig. 1b). Indeed, the most striking aspect of these data is that HSHs reported unprecedented high levels of stress not just in the stress matters condition, but in the stress does not matter condition as well. Why would this occur? The manipulation check data indicate that these findings are not due to inaccurate memory for the given stress instructions. Could these reports reflect the fact that HSHs exposed to prevention focus framing are actually experiencing greater stress in the present testing situation? This is clearly possible, though unlikely given that the stress inventory assesses general life stresses (unrelated to the present test) experienced over the past few weeks. Alternatively, we believe that these results may reflect the fact that framing the task in prevention focus terms increased the perceived threat and evaluative concern of HSHs to the point where their desire to avoid possible failure led them to embrace any potential excuse in the situation (even when no viable handicap is present). Clearly, we must acknowledge the post hoc nature of the above explanation. However, fortunately, the present study included two key measures that allowed us to investigate the validity of this explanation. The first measure involves an assessment of participants’ personal beliefs regarding the effects of stress. If HSHs in prevention focus conditions believe that stress has unique deleterious effects on their performance, it might explain their elevated reporting of stress in both the stress does not matter and stress matters condition. The second measure is our index of evaluative concern (cf. Hirt et al., 2000). Consistent with Idson et al. (2000), we hypothesize that prevention focus may have elevated self-esteem threat and evaluative concern for HSHs to such levels that these individuals would grasp at any available handicap in the service of self-protection. Beliefs about stress Participants were asked their personal beliefs regarding the impact of stress upon their own as well as others’ scores. Responses to these items were made on a 0 (not at all) to 5 (very much) scale. An ANCOVA performed on personal beliefs3 revealed that, not surprisingly, participants believed stress would impact their scores more in the stress matters (M = 1.92) than stress does not matter condition (M = 1.35), F(1, 149) = 7.91, p < .01. Main effects of regulatory focus (F(1, 149) = 7.94, p < .001) and trait anxiety (F(1, 149) = 6.01, p < .05) were also obtained, as well as regulatory focus × SHS (F(1, 149) = 8.59, p < .01) and regulatory focus × SHS × stress instructions interactions, F(1, 149) = 3.50, p < .05 (see Table 2). Simple effects analyses revealed that HSHs in the prevention focus condition believed that stress impacted their scores as much in the stress does not matter (M = 3.27) as in the stress matters condition (M = 2.80). In every other condition, participants believed that stress had little impact on their scores in the stress does not matter condition (all Ms < 1.30), consistent with instructions. Table 2. Beliefs regarding the effects of stress on participant’s own and others’ CFIT score Level of self-handicapping (high vs. low) Regulatory focus condition Stress instructions condition Beliefs re: impact of stress upon own score Beliefs re: impact of stress upon others’ score High Promotion Stress matters 1.79 2.15 Stress does not matter 1.00 1.85 Prevention Stress matters 2.80 3.10 Stress does not matter 3.27 2.49 Control Stress matters 2.28 3.00 Stress does not matter 0.84 2.24 Low Promotion Stress matters 1.68 2.56 Stress does not matter 1.29 2.40 Prevention Stress matters 1.60 2.95 Stress does not matter 0.88 1.20 Control Stress matters 1.17 3.08 Stress does not matter 1.06 1.50 Table options An examination of beliefs regarding the effects of stress on others revealed only a main effect of stress instructions F(1, 149) = 22.09, p < .001. As expected, participants in the stress matters condition (M = 2.81) believed that stress affected others’ test scores more than those in the stress does not matter condition (M = 1.95). In general, participants believed that stress affected others’ scores more than their own score (grand Mothers = 2.38 vs. grand Mown = 1.64); moreover, this pattern held true in all conditions but one—namely, HSHs in the prevention focus/stress does not matter condition (Mothers = 2.49; Mown = 3.27). These participants alone believed that stress affected them more than it affected others. Thus, it appears that these individuals, despite being told that stress had not been shown to reliably affect test scores, believe that stress negatively affected their own performance uniquely, thereby justifying its use as a potential self-handicap. 4 The role of evaluative concern Given these provocative results, we then examined evaluative concern. A factor analysis conducted on our 15 item current feelings measure revealed a three factor solution that accounted for 56.3% of the variance. The three factors were: (1) task importance (α = .81, 5 items: e.g., “It is important to me to do well on this test”); (2) self-presentational concerns (α = .81, 4 items: e.g., “It will bother me if I do not do as well as others expect of me”); and (3) evaluative concern (α = .80, 3 items: e.g., “I am uncertain about how I will do on this test”). Regression analyses performed on the first two factors revealed no significant effects. However, a regression analysis performed on evaluative concern (F(15, 150) = 6.81, p < .001, R2 = .41) revealed main effects of self-handicapping (HSHs > LSHs, β = .17, t = 2.55, p < .05), regulatory focus contrast (prevention > promotion, β = .18, t = 2.83, p < .01), and gender (women > men, β = .16, t = 2.42, p < .05). These main effects were qualified by significant two-way interactions between the regulatory focus contrast and SHS, β = .26, t = 3.79, p < .001, and between the control contrast and SHS, β = .18, t = 2.80, p < .01. Fig. 2 illustrates that these interactions were driven primarily by the unusually high level of evaluative concern expressed by HSHs in the prevention focus condition (simple slope t = 4.56, p < .001). Thus, consistent with our predictions, it appears that a prevention focus framing significantly increased evaluative concern for HSHs. Evaluative concern (standardized) as a function of regulatory focus and level of ... Fig. 2. Evaluative concern (standardized) as a function of regulatory focus and level of self-handicapping. Figure options Does evaluative concern mediate beliefs about stress? Given that HSHs displayed elevated evaluative concern in prevention focus conditions, we next examined its role as a possible mediator of the effects of our regulatory focus manipulation on claimed self-handicapping. We first asked whether the elevated evaluative concern of prevention-focused HSHs led them to adopt the belief that stress uniquely affects them, despite stress does not matter instructions. To address this question, we conducted mediational analyses following the procedures outlined by Baron and Kenny (1986). Because the present question focused only on the variability in stress beliefs in the stress does not matter condition, we conducted analyses only on these conditions. The regulatory focus contrast × SHS interaction was significant (β = .30, t = 3.28, p < .01). However, the addition of evaluative concern (β = .35, t = 3.29, p < .01) significantly reduced the magnitude of this interaction to non-significance (β = .16, t = 1.71, ns, Sobel test t = 2.29, p < .05). Thus, it appears that high levels of evaluative concern mediated the effects of prevention focus on HSHs’ belief that stress negatively affected their own performance uniquely, despite their acknowledgement (and our instructions) that it did not affect others this way. 5 Does evaluative concern mediate claimed handicapping? The final question is whether evaluative concern mediates the use of claimed handicapping. To answer this question, we performed another set of regression analyses with our reported stress measure as the outcome variable and included only stress matters conditions. These conditions are the only ones in which stress serves as a valid handicap. The regulatory focus contrast × SHS interaction was significant (β = .22, t = 2.64, p < .01). However, the addition of evaluative concern to the regression equation (β = .38, t = 3.42, p = .001) substantially reduced this interaction to non-significance (β = .03, t = 0.34, ns, Sobel test t = 2.22, p = .026). Thus, our results reveal that evaluative concern mediates the effects of prevention focus on HSHs’ use of claimed self-handicapping. Parallel analyses were performed on the stress does not matter conditions. Again, the regulatory focus contrast × SHS interaction was significant (β = .20, t = 2.29, p < .05). The addition of evaluative concern to the regression equation was significant (β = .33, t = 3.66, p < .01), but in this case it was the addition of personal beliefs (β = .40, t = 3.73, p < .001) that reduced this interaction to non-significance (β = .03, t < 1, ns, Sobel test t = 2.15, p < .05) and partially mediated the relationship between evaluative concern (β = .25, t = 2.71, p < .01) and performance. Thus, in the stress does not matter conditions, it is the increased personal beliefs that stress affects test performance (resulting from heightened evaluative concern) that mediates the increased use of claimed self-handicapping by prevention focused HSHs.