Development of Perfectionism in Junior Athletes: A Three-Sample Study of Coach and Parental Pressure

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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Perfectionism predicts cognitions, emotions, and behaviors in sport. Nonetheless, our understanding of the factors that influence its development is limited. The authors sought to address this issue by examining the role of coach and parental pressure in the development of perfectionism in sport. Using 3 samples of junior athletes (16–19 years; cross-sectional n = 212, 3-month longitudinal n = 101, and 6-month longitudinal n = 110), the authors examined relations between coach pressure to be perfect, parental pressure to be perfect, perfectionistic strivings, and perfectionistic concerns. Mini meta-analysis of the combined cross-sectional data (N = 423) showed that both coach pressure and parental pressure were positively correlated with perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns. In contrast, longitudinal analyses showed that only coach pressure predicted increased perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns over time. Overall, our findings provide preliminary evidence that coaches may play a more important role in the development of junior athletes’ perfectionism than parents.

Madigan, Hill, and Smith are with the School of Sport, York St. John University, York, United Kingdom. Curran is with the Centre for Motivation and Health Behaviour Change, Department for Health, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom. Stoeber is with the School of Psychology, University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom. Passfield is with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Kent, Chatham Maritime, United Kingdom.

Madigan (d.madigan@yorksj.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
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