The effects of group counseling on the incidence of fear of success motives, role orientation and personal orientation of college women

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


This research was concerned with determining the effectiveness of ten, two-hour group counseling sessions on: (1) preventing the occurrence of or reducing the incidences of fear of success motives in a group of college women, and (2) effecting changes in feminine gender role orientation and personal orientation concomitant with changes in the incidences of fear of success motives. The experimental sample consisted of sixty female students enrolled in a community college, The treatment group (n = 33) consisted of all women who participated in four counseling groups conducted over two quarters. The control group (n = 27) was composed of two groups of college women who expressed personal interest in the counseling groups and who volunteered to participate in the research study. The treatment group had no involvement in group counseling during the ten-week treatment period.

Group counseling was conducted by a male-female co-facilitating team of professionally trained counselors whose theoretical orientation was integrative eclectic. The treatment process was designed to facilitate client exploration and understanding of self, social environment and interacting relationships between self and significant social environments. The content of group counseling focused on client perceived needs, specific attitudes and behaviors, present and past social relationships and feelings or affect associated with attitudes, behaviors, social relationships and perceived needs.

Fear of success was measured using the Thematic Apperception Test for fear of success motives. The Personal Orientation Inventory (POI) and the Welleslex Role Orientation Scale were used to measure personal orientation and role orientation respectively. Five scales used on the POI were: Inner-directedness (I), Self Actualizing Values (SAV), Feeling Reactivity (FR), Self Regard (SR) and Self Acceptance (SA) .

Fisher's exact test of significance( p < .05) was used to test differences within and between groups on pretest-posttest changes in incidences of fear of success motives. A Multivariate Analysis of Covariance test of significance ( p < .01) was conducted on pretest-posttest changes in a linear combination of five personal and one role orientation variables.

Group counseling was found to have a significant combined remedial and preventive effect on the incidences of fear of success. Separate analysis of remedial and preventive effects indicated that group counseling tended to prevent the emergence of fear of success motives; however, the remedial effect of group counseling appears minimal at best. Measures on four of five dimensions of personal orientation, I, SAV, SR and SA were significantly increased in the treatment group, Women in both treatment and control groups tended to have above average sensitivity to personal needs and feelings (FR) and group counseling had no significant effect on an observed high level of FR, Group counseling had no significant effect on feminine gender role orientation; both experimental groups maintained typically non-traditional feminine gender role orientations.