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PSYC 3480 (71)
Chapter 14

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PSYC 3480
Anneke Olthof

Chapter 14 – Fear of Failure and Fear of Success  "It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed." - Theodore Roosevelt  Fear is emotional reaction to specific threat or observable danger  Sources of fear of failure include fear of uncertain future, disappointing significant others, and performing poorly in future competitions. o Failure unlikely to cause fear, but is consequence of failure (shame and embarrassment) that are dreaded  Athletes deal with judgments and negative feedback of teammates, coaches and fans, as well as assessments from parents and friends  Fear of failure can be heavy burden, especially when can result in perceived social rejection and attack sense of personal competence o Fear of failure and feelings of shame lead to poor competitive performance. Associated with higher risk of injury, less enjoyment in participation, worry, lower self-esteem, greater likelihood of dropping out  Fear or acute anxiety leads to psychological paralysis with corresponding physiological alarm reactions created by different stressors - Performance anxiety based on fear of failing  Fight evoked by fear result in heightened aggression accompanied by panic and desperation  With flight from fear athlete typically cave in and mentally withdrawal Causes of Fear of Failure  Strongest cause of fear of failure is negative feedback and punishment by coaches, parents and significant others  Emphasizing failure and punishing athlete for mistakes increases likelihood that same mistakes will be made in future  For most athletes (but not all), mistakes followed by negative feedback cause hormone levels to spike which leads to more fear, which leads to more mistakes o Vicious downward spiral of punishment, fear, stress hormones pumped into blood stream, and more fear and mistakes take over  Athletes set unrealistically high goals for themselves or have them set by others o Results intensify anxiety because cannot be controlled. Skills can be perfectly executed but performance outcomes ca
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