THE INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN JAPANESE STUDENT'S SELF-HANDICAPPING BEHAVIOR IN A TEST SITUATION
 
Yamaoka, H., Nagoya University, Japan
 
Smith, Snyder, & Handelsman (1982) showed that highly test-anxious individuals were more likely to claim the symptom as a handicap than low test-anxious individuals. Moreover, high test-anxious?@individuals claimed less effort as an alternative handicap, when they were informed that anxiety symptom did not serve as a handicap. These results imply that in test situation, highly test-anxious people use 'claimed' self-handicapping strategies chronically. Based on these findings, two studies were conducted to examine whether the level of test-anxiety influenced the 'acquired' self- handicapping behavior. Participants took two successive difficult intelligence tests. Independent variables were the level of test-anxiety (high vs. low) and the anxiety instructions ("anxiety inhibits performance" vs. "anxiety has no effect"). Dependent variables were the score of STAI (both study1 and study2) as 'claimed' self-handicapping, and the selection of interfering noise (study1) and the amount of practice (study2) as 'acquired' self-handicapping. The results revealed that regardless of the test-anxiety score, participants who were instructed that anxiety inhibited performance claimed higher level of anxiety than those who were told that anxiety had no effect (both study1 and study2). Moreover, regardless of the chance of claiming anxiety as self-handicapping, low test-anxious individuals selected more interfering noise than high test-anxious individuals (study1). Thus, there were individual differences in the two self- handicapping behaviors. The role of the cost of each self- handicapping strategy was discussed.