Objectives: Four studies examined relationships between self-handicapping tendencies and reactions to two different yet potentially stressful sport situations (i.e., dealing with a performance slump and emotional reaction prior to competition).Design: Retrospective and prospective cross-sectional survey.Methods: For studies 1 and 2, participants were 65 male athletes (mean age = 20.45) and 141 male and female athletes (mean age = 21.5), respectively. Participants in study 1 completed the Self-handicapping Scale (SHS) and slump-related coping was assessed using the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS). Participants in study 2 completed the SHS and slump-related coping was assessed using the modified Ways of Coping in Sport Scale (WCSS). For studies 3 and 4, participants were 220 male athletes (mean age = 22.60) and 120 male and female athletes (mean age = 34.75), respectively. Participants from both studies completed the SHS and emotions prior to competition were assessed using the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory (CSAI-2).Results: Data from study 1 showed that self-handicapping tendencies were related to emotive-oriented coping. CISS emotion scale scores accounted for 25% of the variance in SHS scores. Data from study 2 showed that self-handicapping tendencies were related to denial/avoidance and wishful thinking subscale scores of the WCSS. Together these two variables accounted for 11% of the variance in SHS scores. Data from studies 3 and 4 showed positive relations between self-handicapping tendencies and cognitive state-anxiety. Cognitive state-anxiety accounted for 8% of the variance in SHS scores in study 3 and 12% of the variance in SHS scores in study 4.Conclusions: Results from studies 1 and 2 demonstrate that self-handicapping tendencies are related to general and specific emotion coping strategies when dealing with a slump. Results from studies 3 and 4 show that self-handicapping tendencies are related to precompetitive cognitive state-anxiety. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.