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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Study of the influence of educational environment on 'fear of success' in high school and college women Yan, Toby Rose


A series of three projective cues, designed to measure fear of success, were administered to fifty women with coeducational backgrounds (twenty-eight from grade 11 and twenty-two from first year university) and forty-eight women from single-sex schools (thirty from grade 11 and eighteen from first year university). The groups were matched for socioeconomic status and intellectual ability. Following the administration of the verbal cues, subjects were tested in competitive and non-competitive conditions on two performance tasks, before which they were asked to estimate their performance. They also completed a Sex-Role Differentiation (SRD) questionnaire and a general information sheet. The results indicated that the level of fear of success was the same for public and private school women in Grade 11 but increased significantly for private school women in university. Women evidencing high fear of success gave lower expectancy estimates of their performance while those low in fear of success made significantly more accurate estimates of their performance on the tasks. Women with high fear of success also held more traditional views of male and female roles as evidence by their higher scores on the SRD scales. However, no significant relationship between fear of success and performance was revealed. The implications of a private school environment for the future education of women were discussed.

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