There has been very limited research on the use of self-worth protection strategies in the achievement context of school physical education (PE). Thus, this study aimed to examine some antecedents and consequences of defensive pessimism and self-handicapping. The sample comprised 534 (females n = 275; males n = 259) British pupils recruited from two schools who responded to established questionnaires. Results of structural equation modelling analysis indicated that self-handicapping and defensive pessimism were positively predicted by fear of failure and negatively predicted by competence valuation. In addition, defensive pessimism was negatively predicted by physical self-concept. In turn, defensive pessimism negatively predicted enjoyment in PE and intentions to participate in future optional PE programs. Self-handicapping did not predict enjoyment or intentions. Results from multi-sample structural equation modelling showed the specified model to be largely invariant across males and females. The findings indicate that although both strategies aim to protect one’s self-worth, some of their antecedents and consequences in PE may differ.