This study investigated how aspects of perfectionism in athletes (N = 388) related to the fears of failure proposed by Conroy et al. (2002), and how perfectionism and fears of failure predicted positive and negative affect after imagined success and failure in sports competitions. Results showed that perfectionistic personal standards showed a negative relationship with fear of experiencing shame and embarrassment and a positive relationship with positive affect after success, whereas perfectionistic concern over mistakes and perceived parental pressure showed a positive relationship with fear of experiencing shame and embarrassment and with negative affect after failure. Moreover, fear of experiencing shame and embarrassment fully mediated the relationship between perfectionistic concern and negative affect and between coach pressure and negative affect. The findings demonstrate that fear of experiencing shame and embarrassment is central in the relationship between perfectionism and fear of failure, and that perfectionistic concern about mistakes and perceived coach pressure are aspects of perfectionism that predict fear of experiencing shame and embarrassment and negative affect after failure.
Joachim Stoeber, Mark A. Uphill, and Sarah Hotham
The question of how perfectionism affects performance is highly debated. Because empirical studies examining perfectionism and competitive sport performance are missing, the present research investigated how perfectionism affected race performance and what role athletes’ goals played in this relationship in two prospective studies with competitive triathletes (Study 1: N = 112; Study 2: N = 321). Regression analyses showed that perfectionistic personal standards, high performance-approach goals, low performance-avoidance goals, and high personal goals predicted race performance beyond athletes’ performance level. Moreover, the contrast between performance-avoidance and performance-approach goals mediated the relationship between perfectionistic personal standards and performance, whereas personal goal setting mediated the relationship between performance-approach goals and performance. The findings indicate that perfectionistic personal standards do not undermine competitive performance, but are associated with goals that help athletes achieve their best possible performance.
Daniel J. Madigan, Joachim Stoeber, and Louis Passfield
Perfectionism in sports has been shown to be associated with burnout in athletes. Whether perfectionism predicts longitudinal changes in athlete burnout, however, is still unclear. Using a two-wave cross-lagged panel design, the current study examined perfectionistic strivings, perfectionistic concerns, and athlete burnout in 101 junior athletes (mean age 17.7 years) over 3 months of active training. When structural equation modeling was employed to test a series of competing models, the best-fitting model showed opposite patterns for perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns. Whereas perfectionistic concerns predicted increases in athlete burnout over the 3 mon ths, perfectionistic strivings predicted decreases. The present findings suggest that perfectionistic concerns are a risk factor for junior athletes contributing to the development of athlete burnout whereas perfectionistic strivings appear to be a protective factor.
Daniel J. Madigan, Joachim Stoeber, and Louis Passfield
Perfectionism in sports has been shown to predict longitudinal changes in athlete burnout. What mediates these changes over time, however, is still unclear. Adopting a self-determination theory perspective and using a three-wave longitudinal design, the current study examined perfectionistic strivings, perfectionistic concerns, autonomous motivation, controlled motivation, and athlete burnout in 141 junior athletes (mean age = 17.3 years) over 6 months of active training. When multilevel structural equation modeling was employed to test a mediational model, a differential pattern of between- and within-person relationships emerged. Whereas autonomous motivation mediated the negative relationship that perfectionistic strivings had with burnout at the between- and within-person level, controlled motivation mediated the positive relationship that perfectionistic concerns had with burnout at the between-persons level only. The present findings suggest that differences in autonomous and controlled motivation explain why perfectionism predicts changes in athlete burnout over time.
Andrew P. Hill, Joachim Stoeber, Anna Brown, and Paul R. Appleton
Perfectionism is a personality characteristic that has been found to predict sports performance in athletes. To date, however, research has exclusively examined this relationship at an individual level (i.e., athletes’ perfectionism predicting their personal performance). The current study extends this research to team sports by examining whether, when manifested at the team level, perfectionism predicts team performance. A sample of 231 competitive rowers from 36 boats completed measures of self-oriented, team-oriented, and team-prescribed perfectionism before competing against one another in a 4-day rowing competition. Strong within-boat similarities in the levels of team members’ team-oriented perfectionism supported the existence of collective team-oriented perfectionism at the boat level. Two-level latent growth curve modeling of day-by-day boat performance showed that team-oriented perfectionism positively predicted the position of the boat in midcompetition and the linear improvement in position. The findings suggest that imposing perfectionistic standards on team members may drive teams to greater levels of performance.
Daniel J. Madigan, Thomas Curran, Joachim Stoeber, Andrew P. Hill, Martin M. Smith, and Louis Passfield
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.