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Fear of Success

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Self-Defeating Behaviors

Part of the book series: The Plenum Series in Social / Clinical Psychology ((SSSC))

Abstract

The apparent paradox that some people fear or avoid success has been the focus of a good deal of interest and research in the last two decades. Two discernable lines of thinking appear in the literature on fear of success. One, which for purposes of differentiation will be called neurotic fear of success, was first chronicled in the psychoanalytic literature by Freud (1915/1959) and later by Horney (1937), Menninger (1938), and others. The distinguishing factor in the neurotic fear of success is that the anchor of the syndrome is unconscious and irrational, although as the research demonstrates, powerful and quite predictable in its consequences. After Pappo’s (1972) ground-breaking work produced a questionnaire to identify success fearers, there followed a resurgence of interest in the 1970s and 1980s with the empirical investigations of Cohen (1974) and Canavan-Gumpert, Garner, and Gumpert (1978a).

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© 1989 Plenum Press, New York

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Canavan, D. (1989). Fear of Success. In: Curtis, R.C. (eds) Self-Defeating Behaviors. The Plenum Series in Social / Clinical Psychology. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4613-0783-9_7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4613-0783-9_7

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Boston, MA

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-4612-8080-4

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-4613-0783-9

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