Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2017

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



The current research examined how conscientious individuals respond to failure in two separate studies. Study 1 (N = 210 undergraduate students) examined subjective failure in 20 life domains and whether conscientiousness moderated its influence on the perceived importance of the failure domain (a cognitive response). These data were tested idiographically via hierarchical linear modeling. Study 2 (N = 358 undergraduate students) experimentally manipulated failure via performance feedback on a cognitive-linguistic task and examined whether conscientiousness moderated its effect on affective, cognitive, and behavioral responses. Both studies indicated that conscientious individuals responded to failure just as defensively as others did (e.g., negative emotion, lowered self-esteem, reduced responsibility). However, compared to others, conscientious individuals seemed to experience more psychological benefits from success (e.g., positive emotion and attributing more importance to the success). These benefits are potentially what makes conscientious individuals such high-achievers.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Michael Strube

Committee Members

Cindy Brantmeier, Tammy English, Joshua Jackson, Patrick Hill,


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