Date of Award

Spring 1988

Document Type




First Advisor

Thomas Hamilton

Second Advisor

J. B. Molineux

Third Advisor

Robert Swartout


Fear of success has been defined as the motive to avoid success in situations wherein an individual is capable of accomplishment but perceives the potential costs of such success as outweighing the potential gains. Some research has focused on expectations associated with social roles as being functional in producing the fear of success (i.e. sex, age and race in certain social matrices). The purpose of this experiment was to study whether or not there was a relationship between birth order and fear of success. One hundred and fifty-seven undergraduate college students were selected according to birth order: youngest-child, middle-child, and oldestchild. The Fear of Success Scale (FOSS) designed by Zuckerman and Allison (1976) was administered to each subj ect. The data analysis indicated an inverse trend with youngest-child subjects scoring higher and oldestchild subjects scoring lower on the FOSS. However, these differences were not statistically significant. These results were discussed in view of factors that may impede one from demonstrating his/her ability.

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