Social Psychological Perspectives on Fear of Success

  • David Ward Tresemer


From negative imagery written in a four-minute story coupled with a lower performance level in a competitive situation, Horner inferred the existence of an emotional state—a “fear” rooted deep in the personality, originating in gender-role socialization in childhood. Though the derivation of the psychoanalytic concept of “fear of success” is somewhat different, the clinical approach is in general agreement with the personality approach concerning the psychodynamics and early origin of “fear of success.” This approach views behavior as evidence for unseen stable traits of the individual. The implication, of course, is that change in such an established behavior pattern is nearly impossible.


Gender Role Social Comparison Social Threat Role System Life Script 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

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  • David Ward Tresemer

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