CONTRIBUTIONS OF ACADEMIC CONTINGENT SELF-WORTH AND MATH SELF-EFFICACY TO SELF-HANDICAPPING AND MATH TEST PERFORMANCE
Thorne, Brittany J
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Persons’ performance-contingent appraisals of their self-worth and their task-specific abilities may interrelate to have invasive consequences that are far reaching, including less time persisting in the face of failure, task disengagement, lower achievement, defensive self-enhancement, and the erosion of interest and motivation. The present study investigated the individual and interactive contributions of academic contingent self-worth (CSW) and math self-efficacy beliefs (MSE) to self-handicapping behaviors and math test performance within a college student sample. Participants completed measures of the above self-related appraisals prior to their exposure to three practice math exam problems that were scored. They were then offered the option of (a) either receiving additional practice test problems before taking a graded and timed, 8-item math exam, or (b) proceeding directly to math exam without additional practice. Prior to choosing, they were informed that students who completed additional practice problems typically improved their actual math test performance. The analysis evaluated the contributions of ACSW and MSE scores on two outcomes, graded math exam performance and self-handicapping (refusing additional practice questions before taking the exam). It was hypothesized that academic contingent self-worth would interact with math self-efficacy to predict math exam performance and choice of whether to self-handicap. Results of the regression analyses indicated (a) that, controlling for students’ gender and practice test performance, ACSW and MSE scores each significantly and positively predicted math exam scores, but their interaction did not significantly enhance math test performance, and (b) that neither ACSW nor MSE scores predicted self-handicapping behavior.