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Performance Failure Appraisal Inventory - STEM undergraduate (PFAI)


The Performance Failure Appraisal Inventory – STEM undergraduate (PFAI) gauges individuals’ beliefs about the negative outcomes of failure. It measures five specific fears, including shame, self-worth reduction, uncertain future, losing interest from others, and upsetting important individuals. These fears are interconnected and reflect an overall fear of failure. The PFAI assesses how strongly someone believes failure leads to adverse consequences.


The PFAI is commonly administered in STEM college courses.

Typical Performance

We do not know of any published results with typical performance. As the LASSO platform collects more data, we will be able to offer better guidance on student performance.


The PFAI was first published in 2003. The validation has focused on college students but spans several institutions. Relevant articles are listed below:

      Henry, M. A., Shorter, S., Charkoudian, L. K., Heemstra, J. M., Le, B., & Corwin, L. A. (2021). Quantifying fear of failure in STEM: modifying and evaluating the Performance Failure Appraisal Inventory (PFAI) for use with STEM undergraduates. International Journal of STEM Education, 8, 1-28.

      Conroy, D. E. (2000). The use of performance failure appraisals to conceptualize and assess fear of failure. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

      Conroy, D. E. (2001). Fear of failure as an exemplar for social development research in sport. Quest, 53, 165-183.

      Conroy, D. E. (2001). Progress in the development of a multidimensional measure of fear of failure: The Performance Failure Appraisal Inventory (PFAI). Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, 13, 431-452.

      Conroy, D. E. (2002). Representational models associated with fear of failure in adolescents and young adults. Journal of Personality.

      Conroy, D. E. & Metzler, J. N. (in press). Patterns of self-talk associated with different forms of competitive anxiety. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology.

      Conroy, D. E., & Metzler, J. N. (in press). Temporal stability of Performance Failure Appraisal Inventory items. Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science.

      Conroy, D. E., Metzler, J. N., & Hofer, S. M. (in press). Factorial invariance and latent mean stability of performance failure appraisals. Structural Equation Modeling.

      Conroy, D. E., Poczwardowski, A., & Henschen, K. P. (2001). Evaluative criteria and consequences associated with failure and success among elite performers. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 13, 300-322.

      Conroy, D. E., Willow, J. P., & Metzler, J. N. (2002). Multidimensional fear of failure measurement: The Performance Failure Appraisal Inventory. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 14, 76-90.


We recommend using Google Scholar and the citations listed under validation to find articles of interest.

Example LASSO Report

Please follow this link to our example report for concept inventories.

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