Examining the Role of Anxiety and Depression in Predicting Fear of Success

Fear of success is a psychological barrier arising due to individuals' avoidance of perceived negative consequences of success, such as unwanted attention and pressure to perform, managing people's expectations, and peer rivalry. The present study investigated the role of two constructs (i.e., anxiety and depression) that potentially contribute to fear of success in student populations. Despite the increasing rates of anxiety and depression in undergraduate students (Gupta & Basak, 2013), no previous research had previously investigated the relationship between depression and fear of success. A total of 425 undergraduate students completed online self-report surveys assessing anxiety, depressive symptoms, and fear of success. Results indicated that individuals scoring high on anxiety and depressive symptoms were also more likely to score high on fear of success. However, only depressive symptoms appeared to be a strong predictor of fear of success. Gender comparisons found fear of success to be higher in men, while anxiety and depressive symptoms were higher for women. Based on these findings, implications of the observed results as well as directions for future research were also discussed. Keywords: fear of success, anxiety, depression, self-defeating behaviors