The measurement of fear of success and its relationship to personality, perceived parenting, study habits, and academic performance

Nancy Garcia-Ruffin, Fordham University


Fear of success was correlated with personality, academic performance, study strategies and attitudes, and retrospective perceived parenting variables. Fear of success was measured using a projective measure, the Revised Scoring Manual for the Motive to Avoid Success, and a paper and pencil measure, the Fear of Success Scale. The NEO Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI), the Spotty Record Index (SRI), the Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI), and the Parent-Child Relations Questionnaire II (PCRII) were used to measure personality, academic performance, study attitudes and behaviors, and retrospective perceived parenting, respectively. Seventy-four protocols were collected (57 females and 17 males). Fear of success was hypothesized to correlate with (1) NEO-FFI Neuroticism and Extroversion, (2) the SRI, (3) LASSI Anxiety, Attitude and Time Management, and (4) PCRII Father-Demand, Father-Reject, Mother-Demand, and Mother-Reject. No results were found with the projective measure of fear of success. However, several hypotheses were supported using the Fear of Success Scale. As expected, a positive correlation was found with NEO-Neuroticism, PCRII Mother-Demand and PCRII Father-Reject. Also, the anticipated negative correlations with NEO Extroversion and LASSI Attitude were found in this sample. When all of these correlations were considered together in a multiple regression analysis, NEO Neuroticism and PCRII Mother-Demand proved to be the strongest predictors of fear of success. Additional correlates not included in the hypotheses were discovered. These included NEO Conscientiousness and Openness, PCRII Father-Love, LASSI Concentration, Motivation and Selecting Main Ideas, and Grade Point Average. When these variables were added to the regression equation, the most significant predictors of fear of success were NEO Neuroticism, PCRII Mother-Demand, LASSI Anxiety and Motivation, and GPA. It was concluded that although fear of success continues to be plagued by measurement issues, it is an existing phenomenon worthy of further exploration. Theoretical and practical implications were discussed.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Personality|Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Garcia-Ruffin, Nancy, "The measurement of fear of success and its relationship to personality, perceived parenting, study habits, and academic performance" (2003). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3083151.