The present study investigated whether dispositional self-handicapping (tendency to create or claim obstacles to performance in order to protect the self from negative attributions) predicts pain catastrophizing and self-reported pain. Based on the idea that exaggerated claims of pain provides a potential and an easy way to self-handicap, it was hypothesized that trait self-handicapping would be related to pain catastrophizing, which in turn, would be associated with higher levels of self-reported pain. A sample of undergraduate students (N = 251) completed measures of self-handicapping, pain catastrophizing, and self-reported pain. It was found that self-handicapping was moderately associated with pain catastrophizing, accounting for 20% of the variance in pain catastrophizing. Furthermore, mediation analyses suggested that pain catastrophizing fully mediated the association between self-handicapping and pain. Published by Elsevier Ltd.