Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

DeCooke, Peggy A.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Fear of failure; Failure (Psychology) in children


The present study examined age differences in children's reactions to failure events. Second- and sixth-grade children responded to vignettes describing two types of failure events: Process failures describe error-making that occurs during the learning or practice of new skills. Outcome failures describe poor performance on tasks or events portrayed as evaluative in nature. Forty second- and sixth-grade children provided ratings concerning their performance evaluations, affective reactions, and future performance expectations following each type of failure event. Sixth-graders evaluated performance more negatively and reported feeling worse following an outcome failure as compared to a process failure. Second-graders did not differentiate their performance and affective ratings as a function of failure event. Expectancy ratings for both groups of children remained high, regardless of the type of failure event encountered. The findings of the present study suggest that dispositional variables (e.g., views of intelligence) may protect children from the motivational dampening often associated with failure experiences. A view of intelligence as an ever-expanding commodity may allow for a constructive view of failure that includes both the recognition of the negativity of the event, as well as the ability to learn from one's mistakes and to perform better on future endeavors.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [67]-71)


v, 71 pages




Northern Illinois University

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