Conceptually, achievement motives are stable phenomena; however, recent evidence suggests that fear of failure (FF) levels decrease slightly as participants gain experience with an activity. One plausible explanation for this decrease in FF is that practice (and consequential reinforcement and approval from coaches) leads to increased perceptions of competence and concomitant reductions in the perceived likelihood and aversiveness of failing. Boys and girls in a recreational summer swimming program (N = 165) completed measures of FF and perceived competence (PC) at the beginning, middle, and end of a 6-week swimming season. The FF and PC measures exhibited strong and strict factorial invariance, respectively. As expected, FF scores exhibited a slight but significant decrease over the season whereas PC growth trajectories varied significantly. Neither initial levels of nor subsequent changes in PC significantly predicted the rate at which FF scores changed over six weeks. These findings indicated that changes in PC do not confound evaluations of change in FF during youth sport seasons.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Psychology