Universities across the globe have found ways to implement programs in which they help promote the success of their overachieving students. Every year, students compete against their peers to gain entrance to these exclusive programs in order to sustain their identities as gifted students and build onto their educational foundation. Placing these students together can see a rise in rates of social comparison, and therefore adverse mental health challenges. Previous research examines the relationship of students’ mental health and their Honors communities versus the counterpart of non-honors students to find new ways to enrich either side of the spectrum. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of Big Fish, Little Pond Effect in Honors Programs or Colleges in two Kentucky universities and provide suggestions to Honors administrators, based solely on results and suggestions from students. Participants included 34 undergraduate students from Bellarmine University and 62 undergraduate students from Eastern Kentucky University. Each student was asked to complete an electronic survey that included measures that evaluated levels of positive and negative perfectionism, personal mastery goals, motivation to seek counseling, and suggestions to improve mental health resources for honors communities.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2020


Dr. Matthew P. Winslow

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Department of Psychology

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars



IRB Approval Number (if applicable)