Alcohol Consumption as a Self-Handicapping Strategy
Achievement, Adolescent, Alcohol Drinking, Self Concept
Journal of Abnormal Psychology
Two experiments evaluated the self-handicapping hypothesis that alcohol consumption varies directly with individuals' uncertainty of their ability to perform successfully. In a 2 X 2 X 2 factorial design, Experiment 1 manipulated (a) difficulty of an initial intellectual test (insolvable or solvable), (b) feedback regarding test performance (success or none), and (c) instructions regarding the difficult of a retest (identical to or harder than the initial test). Ninety-six male normal drinkers then received access to an alcoholic beverage (self-handicapping option) and to study materials (performance-enhancing option). The experiment terminated before the retest. Results indicated that when a performance enhancing option is available, subjects generally do not use alcohol to self-handicap, Experiment 2 omitted the study option and manipulated the test difficulty and retest instruction variables in a 2 X 2 factorial design. All 32 subjects received success feedback. Results showed that subjects use alcohol to self-handicap when denied access to a performance-enhancing option. With important qualifications, these data support the self-handicapping hypothesis of human drinking behavior.
Tucker, J. A.,
Vuchinich, R. E.,
Sobell, M. B.
(1981). Alcohol Consumption as a Self-Handicapping Strategy. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 90(3), 220-230.
Available at: http://nsuworks.nova.edu/cps_facarticles/349