Factors related to academic self-handicapping in Black students attending a predominantly White University

Robinson et al. / Social Psychology of Education / Jun 1, 2023

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The goal of the present study was to examine factors associated with academic self-handicapping in Black students attending a predominantly white university. Factors examined included sociodemographic factors (gender, first-generation college student status); psychological factors (family support, perceived discrimination, Black identity); and academic goal orientation. Participants were 240 Black/African American students who were part of a deidentified dataset from a larger study examining undergraduate student’s personal experiences and psychosocial correlates of academic self-handicapping (mean age 19.20, 107 first-generation students, 96 men, 144 women). First-generation status and gender were not related to academic self-handicapping. Lower family support, higher Black identity positive regard, and higher perceived discrimination were associated with higher academic self-handicapping. Higher self-handicapping was also related to lower mastery orientation, but higher approach and avoidance orientation. In regression models, family support, Black identity positive regard, and approach/avoidance motivation remained unique predictors of academic self-handicapping. Results suggest that higher education stakeholders focus on strategies and systems of supports to minimize self-handicapping. Stakeholders may also consider interventions focused on enhancing racial identity or directly addressing academic self-handicapping tendencies.