This study examined the associations of dispositional perfectionism, contextual motivation, sport-related coping, goal attainment, and changes in life satisfaction during a sport competition. A sample of 186 athletes completed measures of dispositional perfectionism, contextual motivation, and life satisfaction at Time 1 (before a competition) as well as measures of coping, goal attainment, and life satisfaction at Time 2 (after a competition). Results of structural equation modeling supported a model in which self-determined and non-self-determined motivation partially mediated the relationships between different dimensions of perfectionism and coping. It was also shown that disengagement-oriented coping mediated the negative relationship between evaluative concerns perfectionism and change in life satisfaction. In a similar way, goal attainment mediated the relationships of both task- and disengagement-oriented coping with change in life satisfaction. For the most part, these results are consistent with the motivational properties of evaluative concerns and personal standards perfectionism and with literature regarding coping and self-determination theory.
Sam S. Sagar and Joachim Stoeber
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.
Lillian A. De Petrillo, Keith A. Kaufman, Carol R. Glass and Diane B. Arnkoff
The present study sought to determine the effects of Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement (MSPE) on runners. Participants were 25 recreational long-distance runners openly assigned to either the 4-week intervention or to a waiting-list control group, which later received the same program. Results indicate that the MSPE group showed significantly more improvement in organizational demands (an aspect of perfectionism) compared with controls. Analyses of pre- to postworkshop change found a significant increase in state mindfulness and trait awareness and decreases in sport-related worries, personal standards perfectionism, and parental criticism. No improvements in actual running performance were found. Regression analyses revealed that higher ratings of expectations and credibility of the workshop were associated with lower postworkshop perfectionism, more years running predicted higher ratings of perfectionism, and more life stressors predicted lower levels of worry. Findings suggest that MSPE may be a useful mental training intervention for improving mindfulness, sport-anxiety related worry, and aspects of perfectionism in long-distance runners.
Daniel F. Gucciardi, John Mahoney, Geoffrey Jalleh, Robert J. Donovan and Jarred Parkes
Although there is an emerging body of research that has examined perfectionistic clusters in the general population, few studies have explored such profiles in athlete samples. The purposes of this research were to explore perfectionistic profiles within a sample of elite athletes and the differences between them on key motivational variables. A sample of 423 elite athletes (179 males, 244 females) aged between 14 and 66 years (M = 25.64; SD = 8.57) from a variety of team (e.g., rowing, hockey, baseball, rugby) and individual sports (e.g., cycling, athletics, triathlon, gymnastics) completed a multisection questionnaire including measures of sport perfectionism, motivation regulation, achievement goals, and fear of failure. Cluster analyses revealed the existence of three perfectionism profiles, namely, nonperfectionists, maladaptive perfectionists, and adaptive perfectionists. Subsequent analyses generally supported the robustness of these perfectionism profiles in terms of differential motivational orientations (achievement goals, fear of failure, and motivation regulation) in hypothesized directions. Overall, the differences in motivational orientations between the three clusters supported a categorical conceptualization of perfectionism.
Jessica H. Doughty and Heather A. Hausenblas
It is commonly believed that gymnasts are at risk for eating disorders. However, research examining whether gymnasts are a high-risk population for eating pathologies is equivocal. The purpose of our study was to examine disordered eating among Division I female gymnasts using a longitudinal design with validated eating disorder measures. Participants (n = 72) completed the Drive for Thinness, Body Dissatisfaction and Perfectionism subscales of the Eating Disorder Inventory-2 (Garner, 1991), and the Social Physique Anxiety Scale (Martin et al., 1997), twice during their competitive season (i.e., October and March). There were no significant time differences for the eating disorder subscales, indicating that gymnasts’ perfectionism, body dissatisfaction, and anorexic tendencies may be stable characteristics that do not change across a competitive season. Implications of these results and future research directions are discussed.
Vaithehy Shanmugam, Sophia Jowett and Caroline Meyer
The purpose of this study was twofold: to explore the utility of components related to the transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral model of eating disorders within an athletic population and to investigate the extent to which the model can be applied across gender, sport type, and performance standard to explain eating psychopathology. Five hundred and eighty-eight (N = 588) male and female British athletes completed a battery of self-report instruments related to eating psychopathology, interpersonal diffculties, perfectionism, self-esteem, and mood. Structural equation modeling revealed that eating psychopathology may arise from an interaction of interpersonal diffculties, low self-esteem, high levels of self-critical perfectionism, and depressive symptoms. Analysis further highlighted that the manner in which eating psychopathology may arise is invariant across athletes’ sport type and performance standard, but not across gender. The current findings suggest that the tested components of the transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral model are pertinent and useful in explaining eating psychopathology among athletes.
Daniel Gould, Suzanne Tuffey, Eileen Udry and James Loehr
This study reports results from the first phase of a large-scale research project designed to examine burnout in competitive junior tennis players. Thirty junior tennis burnout and 32 comparison players, identified by U.S. Tennis Association personnel, voluntarily completed a battery of psychological assessments. A series of discriminant function analyses and univariate t-tests revealed that burned out, as contrasted to comparison players, had significantly: (a) higher burnout scores; (b) less input into training; (c) were more likely to have played high school tennis; (d) more likely played up in age division; (e) practiced fewer days; (f) were lower in external motivation; (g) were higher in amotivation; (h) reported being more withdrawn; (i) differed on a variety of perfectionism subscales; (j) were less likely to use planning coping strategies; and (k) were lower on positive interpretation and growth coping. It was concluded that in addition to a variety of personal and situational predictors of burnout, perfectionism plays a particularly important role.
Vaithehy Shanmugam, Sophia Jowett and Caroline Meyer
In the current study, we had two aims. First, we investigated the associations between eating psychopathology, situational interpersonal difficulties, and dispositional interpersonal difficulties among athletes and nonathletes. Second, we examined the mediating role of self-critical perfectionism, self-esteem, and depression in these associations. A total of 152 athletes and 147 nonathletes completed self-report instruments pertaining to relationship quality with significant others, as well as social anxiety, loneliness, self-critical perfectionism, self-esteem, depression, and eating psychopathology. Social anxiety and loneliness were found to be the only significant independent predictors of eating psychopathology among both athletes and nonathletes. However, such associations were indirectly mediated through depression for athletes and through self-critical perfectionism, self-esteem, and depression for nonathletes. The findings of this study suggest that the psychosocial mechanisms involved in the eating psychopathology of athletes are relatively similar to that of nonathletes. Thus, it can be tentatively proposed that treatments and interventions that target reducing interpersonal conflicts currently available for the general population should also be offered to athletes.
Roy J. Shephard
This paper offers a brief response to the article of Bouffard (2001), which in itself was a reaction to two earlier papers published by the present author (Shephard, 1998, 1999). Bouffard makes a vigorous attack on his perceptions of my observations concerning the use of jargon, the primacy of the scientific method, and postmodernism. Unfortunately, his perceptions of my arguments are not always substantiated by a careful reading of the text. Many of the world’s social ills are rashly attributed uniquely to rationalism. No viable alternatives to the scientific method are suggested, and self-criticism of the postmodern approach is less than optimal. Nevertheless, the paper is to be welcomed, both as a challenge to continuing perfection of evidence-based science and as providing an insight into the thinking of those who espouse the postmodernist philosophy.
Jörn Köppen and Markus Raab
Belief in streaks—known as a hot (or cold) hand in sports—is a common element in human decision making. In three video-based experiments, we investigated the belief–behavior relationship and how allocation decisions in volleyball are affected by the expertise of participants measured in years of experience. The participants watched video sequences of two volleyball players in which the base rates of these players were kept constant. In addition, one player showed a hot hand (or cold hand), which was manipulated by length and perfection. Results showed that participants of different expertise levels were sensitive to all kinds of streaks, allocated more/less balls to the hot/cold player and reported strong beliefs in the hot or the cold hand. Developing tactics can benefit from this line of research.