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Motivation Mediates the Perfectionism–Burnout Relationship: A Three-Wave Longitudinal Study With Junior Athletes

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.

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Perfectionism and Burnout in Junior Athletes: A Three-Month Longitudinal Study

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.