Study aim: To assess the level of self-handicapping tendency, competitive anxiety (trait) and social support within groups of young male and female athletes, as well as to determine the relationships between those variables.
Material and methods: A group of 75 athletes (46 male football players and 29 female volleyball players) from Sport Mastery School in Łódź, aged 16 - 19 years, participated in the study. Three questionnaires were administered: Anticipative Strategy of Self-Esteem Protection Scale (ASO) to measure self-handicapping tendency, Social Support Scale (SWS) and Reactions to Competition (RnW), in order to measure the competition-related anxiety (trait).
Results: Female athletes attained significantly higher scores in ASO and RnW while male players perceived their social support higher than girls. No significant correlations between self-handicapping and anxiety were found. Most of the observed relationships between self-handicapping and social support were negative, like those between anxiety and social support.
Conclusions: It is advisable to work with young athletes on eliminating self-handicapping activities and replacing them with other, more efficient, ways of coping with anxiety. Social support (adequate to the athlete's needs) might be crucial in that proceeding. The hypothesis of relationship between sport competitive anxiety and self-handicapping was not confirmed, maybe due to the relatively small number of subjects.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.