Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The object of this study was to examine the relationship, if any, between success and failure experiences and self-concept in retarded children. The Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale was administered to 30 institutionalized mentally retarded children at the Grafton State School. Following the administration of the pretest, the subjects were divided into three groups, two experimental and one control. Each group was further subdivided into a high and a low self-concept group on the basis of pretest performance. The groups were generally comparable with respect to chronological age and sex. Experimental group A was exposed to a success experience, experimental group B to a failure experience, and Group C constituted the control group.

One W9ek after the administration of the self-concept inventory, Groups A and B received the experimental manipulations. The experimental task involved shooting a dart gun at a target while blindfolded, with success or failure being controlled by the experimenter. Immediately following the experimental task a second measure of self-concept was obtained. Group G was administered the pre and post form3 of the self-concept inventory with no intervening success-failure experience.

It was hypothesized that following a failure experience retardates would show a greater drop in self-concept than after a succe33 experience. Further, retardates with low self-concepts were expected to show a greater drop in self-concept following a failure experience than those with high salf-eoncept3. Neither of these hypotheses were supported by the data. Analyses of variance and covariance failed to reveal any significant difference among experimental conditions (success, failure, and control). However, there was a significant main effect for the type of subject, high versus low self-concept.