Training Package for Fostering Stable Self-Esteem and Reducing Fear of Negative Evaluation and Testing its Effectiveness on Self –Handicapping

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Psychology, School of Education and Psychology, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, School of Education and Psychology, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran.


Abstract     Introduction: Self-handicapping is a defense strategy in which a person, prior to any performance, creates some obstacles by which he manipulates his attributions after the performance. This variable is regarded as one impediment to educational efficiency. This study aims to design a training package to foster stable self-esteem and reduce the fear of negative evaluation to influence teenagers’ self-handicapping. Method: To this end, based on an empirical research study and after the confirmation of the validity of the designed training package by experts (p<0.001), one high school was selected through convenience sampling method from among Junior high schools. The population of eighth grade high schoolers (150) answered to Jones Self-Handicapping Scale (1982), Brief Form of the Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale (FNES-B) and Instability of Self-Esteem Scale (ISES). From among the foregoing population, a group of 60 high schoolers with an average age of 14 years old who had obtained the highest self-handicapping scores were randomly assigned to two experimental and control groups and received the training package for 8 one-hour sessions. Then, a post-test and a follow-up test were administered after one subsequent month. Data was analyzed using the regression analyze, independent-t method and mixed analysis of variance.Result: The study results suggested the effectiveness of the training package in promoting the stable self-esteem and reducing the fear of negative evaluation and consequently reducing self-handicapping scores of the subjects (p<0.001,partial η²= 0/315).    Conclusion: This study proposes that, owing to the criticality of adolescence, training packages focusing on fostering stable self-esteem and decreasing fear of negative evaluation may be highly effectual in alleviating adolescents’ self-handicapping and operate as a factor leading to more development and growth for them.


  1. References
  2. Anisi J, Marzmani, H., Reisi, M. & Nicknam, F. . Examination of behavioral problems of teenagers. Behavioral Sciences Journal, 1(2), 7 2007;1(2):7.
  3. Milner Jr M. Paradoxical Inequalities: Adolescent Peer Relations in Indian Secondary Schools. Sociology of Education. 2013;86(3):253-67.
  4. Idri N. Sources of FNE among First Year LMD1 Students of Abderrahmane Mira University. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences. 2011;29:1932-41.
  5. Harter S. Developmental processes in the construction of the self. Integrative processes and socialization: Early to middle childhood. 1988:45-78.
  6. Levinson CA, Rodebaugh TL, White EK, Menatti AR, Weeks JW, Iacovino JM, et al. Social appearance anxiety, perfectionism, and fear of negative evaluation. Distinct or shared risk factors for social anxiety and eating disorders? Appetite. 2013;67:125-33.
  7. Vakilian SGH, B. . Examination of the effectiveness of the combination of behavioral-cognitive group therapy and training social skills of confronting the fear of negative evaluation and social avoidance. . Clinical Psychology,. 2009;1(2):11-28.
  8. Watson D, Friend R. Measurement of social-evaluative anxiety. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology. 1969;33(4):448.
  9. Faytout M, Tignol J, Swendsen J, Grabot D, Aouizerate B, Lepine J. Social phobia, fear of negative evaluation and harm avoidance. European psychiatry. 2007;22(2):75-9.
  10. Hall TR. Self-handicapping: An evaluation and comparison of honors and traditional college students’ utilization. Retrieved February. 2000;24:2009.
  11. Ferrari JR, Thompson T. Impostor fears: Links with self-presentational concerns and self-handicapping behaviours. Personality and Individual Differences. 2006;40(2):341-52.
  12. Cooley P, Pedersen S. Using Self-handicaps to Protect Self-esteem: Young Peoples’ Responses to Evaluative Threat in Sport. Universal Journal of Psychology. 2014;2(2):95-102.
  13. Hajlu N, Sobhi Gharamaki, N. & Mohammadi, I. . . Effects of perfectionism on the experience of pride and self-esteem. . Behavioral Sciences, . 2013;7(2):101-8.
  14. Martin KA, Brawley LR. Self-handicapping in physical achievement settings: The contributions of self-esteem and self-efficacy. Self and Identity. 2002;1(4):337-51.
  15. Prapavessis H, Grove JR, Maddison R, Zillmann N. Self-handicapping tendencies, coping, and anxiety responses among athletes. Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 2003;4(4):357-75.
  16. Snyder CR, Higgins RL. Excuses: their effective role in the negotiation of reality. Psychological bulletin. 1988;104(1):23.
  17. Burroughs E. The Astrobiology Project: Effects on Students' Science Aspirations and Achievement, and an Analysis of Self-Handicapping Behavior. 2012.
  18. Coudevylle GR, Gernigon C, Ginis KAM. Self-esteem, self-confidence, anxiety and claimed self-handicapping: A mediational analysis. Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 2011;12(6):670-5.
  19. Tice DM. Esteem protection or enhancement? Self-handicapping motives and attributions differ by trait self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1991;60(5):711.
  20. Midgley C, Urdan T. Academic self-handicapping and achievement goals: A further examination. Contemporary educational psychology. 2001;26(1):61-75.
  21. Waschull SB, Kernis MH. Level and stability of self-esteem as predictors of children's intrinsic motivation and reasons for anger. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 1996;22(1):4-13.
  22. Heidari M, Khodapanahi, M. & Dehghani., M. . . Examination of psychometric features of the Self-Handicapping Scale. . Familiology Quarterly. 2009;5(18):125-37.
  23. Rhodewalt F. Self-handicappers. Self-Handicapping: Springer; 1990. p. 69-106.
  24. Baumeister RF, Kahn J, Tice DM. Obesity as a self-handicapping strategy: Personality, selective attribution of problems, and weight loss. The Journal of social psychology. 1990;130(1):121-3.
  25. Shamsi G. Investigation of the effectiveness of group and mood on students’ self-handicapping. . Master’s Degree Thesis University of Shahid Beheshti 2013.
  26. Collins KA, Westra HA, Dozois DJ, Stewart SH. The validity of the brief version of the Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale. Journal of anxiety disorders. 2005;19(3):345-59.
  27. Rodebaugh TL, Woods CM, Thissen DM, Heimberg RG, Chambless DL, Rapee RM. More information from fewer questions: the factor structure and item properties of the original and brief fear of negative evaluation scale. Psychological assessment. 2004;16(2):169.
  28. Garavand F, Shokri, O., Khodaei, A., Omaraei, M. & Tulaei, S. . Fear of negative evaluation among student teenagers of 12-18 years old in Tehran City. Quarterly Journal of Psychological Studies. 2011; 7(1):65-95.
  29. Pakdaman S, & Mortezavi Nasiri, F. . Perceived parenting styles and fear of negative evaluation: a comparison of ordinary and intelligent female teenagers. Developmental Psychology (Journal of Iranian Psychologists), 10(39), 249-262. 2014;10(39):262-49.
  30. Chabrol H, Rousseau A, Callahan S. Preliminary results of a scale assessing instability of self-esteem. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science/Revue canadienne des sciences du comportement. 2006;38(2):136.
  31. Koinis CN. Self-esteem level, self-esteem stability, and procrastination: Predictors of academic achievement in first year medical students: Fielding Graduate University; 2009.
  32. Azadi E, Fathabadi, J. & Heidari, M. . .Relationship of instable self-esteem and fear of negative evaluation with self-handicapping among student teenagers in Tehran City. Educational Psychology Quarterly. 2012;8,((25)):23.
  33. Higgins RL, Berglas S. The maintenance and treatment of self-handicapping. Self-Handicapping: Springer; 1990. p. 187-238.
  34. Hosseini SA, Salimi, H., & Eisazadegan, A. Effectiveness of hope promoting cognitive training on educational self-handicapping of male students in boarding secondary schools of Bukan city. Journal of Educational Psychology. 2014;10(18):83-102.
  35. Kross E, Bruehlman-Senecal E, Park J, Burson A, Dougherty A, Shablack H, et al. Self-talk as a regulatory mechanism: how you do it matters. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2014;106(2):304.
  36. Kearns H, Forbes A, Gardiner M. A cognitive behavioural coaching intervention for the treatment of perfectionism and self-handicapping in a nonclinical population. Behaviour Change. 2007;24(3):157-72.
  37. Ferguson KL, Rodway MR. Cognitive behavioral treatment of perfectionism: Initial evaluation studies. Research on Social Work Practice. 1994;4(3):283-308.
  38. Norem JK, Cantor N. Cognitive strategies, coping, and perceptions of competence. 1990.
  39. Schwinger M, Wirthwein L, Lemmer G, Steinmayr R. Academic self-handicapping and achievement: A meta-analysis. American Psychological Association; 2014.
  40. Kernis MH, Cornell DP, Sun C-R, Berry A, Harlow T. There's more to self-esteem than whether it is high or low: The importance of stability of self-esteem. Journal of personality and social psychology. 1993;65(6):1190.
  41. Newman LS, Wadas RF. When the stakes are higher: Self-esteem instability and self-handicapping. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality. 1997;12(1):217.
  42. Barrett PM, Webster HM, Wallis JR. Adolescent self-esteem and cognitive skills training: A school-based intervention. Journal of Child and Family Studies. 1999;8(2):217-27.
  43. Anderson HE. Effects of Self-Esteem Intervention Programs on At-Risk Behaviors of Rural I: NORTHERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY; 2011.
  44. Arkin RM, Baumgardner AH. Self-presentation and self-evaluation: Processes of self-control and social control. Public self and private self: Springer; 1986. p. 75-97.
  45. Thompson T. Failure–avoidance: Parenting, the achievement environment of the home and strategies for reduction. Learning and Instruction. 2004;14(1):3-26.