Subjective Overachievement Scale (SOS): Self-Doubt

The Subjective Overachievement Scale (SOS): Self-Doubt subscale is an 8-item measure designed to identify subjective overachievers, or individuals who are concerned about having successful performances yet are doubtful about possessing the underlying talent or ability to achieve success. This measure was developed along with the Subjective Overachievement Scale (SOS): Concern with Performance, found here.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range:


1. When engaged in an important task, most of my thoughts turn to bad things that might happen (e.g., failing) than to good.
2. For me, avoiding failure has a greater emotional impact (e.g., sense of relief) than the emotional impact of achieving success (e.g., joy, pride).
3. More often than not I feel unsure of my abilities.
4. I sometimes find myself wondering if I have the ability to succeed at important activities.
5. I often wish that I felt more certain of my strengths and weaknesses.
6. As I begin an important activity, I usually feel confident in my ability.*
7. Sometimes I feel that I don’t know why I have succeeded at something.
8. As I begin an important activity, I usually feel confident in the likely outcome.*

* Reverse-coded items

Response Options:
Disagree very much - 1
Disagree pretty much - 2
Disagree a little - 3
Agree a little - 4
Agree pretty much - 5
Agree very much - 6

Scoring Procedures

Mean and median the scores are calculated.

Original Citation

Oleson, K. C., Poehlmann, K. M., Yost, J. H., Lynch, M. E., & Arkin, R. M. (2000). Subjective overachievement: Individual differences in self doubt and concern with performance. Journal of Personality, 68(3), 491-524.

Psychometric Score

Ease of Use Score

Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


Scoring Clarity


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