Date of Award


Honors Thesis Number




Faculty Advisor

Schill, Thomas R.


This study attempted to determine whether people who engage in a higher frequency of self-defeating behaviors show a greater degree of those characteristics which define learned helplessness. Such a relationship was expected because chronic self-defeating patterns fail to lead to reinforcements in achievement and interpersonal situations and therefore should be associated with a higher number of characteristics found in learned helplessness (such as attributing causes of uncontrollable events to self, constant factors, and factors present in a variety of situations). Subjects were 43 undergraduate women, majors and non-majors, from an introductory psychology course. The measures used to examine the association between self-defeating behaviors and learned helplessness were Schill's (1990) Self-Defeating Personality Scale and Seligman's (1978) Attributional Style Questionnaire. Results failed to support the hypothetical relationship between self-defeating patterns and learned helplessness. Reasons for the failure to find results were discussed.