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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.

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Thomas D. Raedeke, Victoria Blom, and Göran Kenttä

this syndrome, perfectionism has garnered the most empirical attention. Perfectionism is a multidimensional personality characteristic involving a constellation of cognitions, affective responses, and behaviors that result in unrealistically high personal standards and tendencies for overly critical

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Danielle S. Molnar, Melissa Blackburn, Dawn Zinga, Natalie Spadafora, Tabitha Methot-Jones, and Maureen Connolly

authors outline two overarching dimensions that encompass several facets of perfectionism, grouped based on their origin and on the way they manifest at a cognitive level. Personal standards perfectionism (PSP) refers to the self-oriented tendency to set excessively high and demanding standards for

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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.

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Randy O. Frost and Katherine J. Henderson

This exploratory study examined the relationship of perfectionism (from a recently devised multidimensional measure) with female athletes' reactions to athletic competition and coaches' ratings of reactions to mistakes during competition. Athletes who rated high in Concern Over Mistakes (one dimension of perfectionism) reported more anxiety and less self-confidence in sports, displayed a general failure orientation toward sports, reacted negatively to mistakes (by their report and by coaches' ratings), and reported more negative thinking in the 24 hours prior to competition. A second dimension of perfectionism, High Personal Standards, was associated with a success orientation toward sports and more dreams of perfection prior to competition. The possible influence of perfectionism on motivation and performance in sports is discussed.

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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.

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Patrick J. Cohn

This was an exploratory study to determine the most frequent sources of stress reported by high school golfers and also to ascertain the perceived causes of athlete burnout in golf. A guided interview approach consisting of both open-ended and specific questions related to golfing experiences was used to collect data from 10 high school competitive golfers. A typological analysis of the interviews identified a number of competitive sources of stress for golfers, including playing a particularly difficult shot, playing up to personal standards, and striving to meet parental expectations. All golfers said they had experienced a short period of burnout. Some of the most frequently cited reasons for burnout in golf were, too much practice or play, a lack of enjoyment, and too much pressure from self and others to do well. It was concluded that the perceived sources of stress need to be considered when investigating the causes of athlete burnout in golf.

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Howard K. Hall, Alistair W. Kerr, and Julie Matthews

This investigation employed Smith’s (1996) model of performance-related anxiety to examine links between perfectionism, achievement goals, and the temporal patterning of multidimensional state anxiety in 119 high school runners. Instruments assessed achievement goals (Roberts & Balague, 1989), perfectionism (Frost, Marten, Lahart, & Rosenblate, 1990), and multidimensional state anxiety (Martens, Burton, & Vealey, 1990) on 4 occasions prior to a cross-country meet. Hierarchical regression analysis indicated that overall perfectionism was a consistent, significant predictor of cognitive anxiety. Perceived ability was a consistent predictor of confidence, and ego and task goals contributed to the prediction of cognitive anxiety and confidence, respectively. Concern over mistakes, doubts about action, and personal standards were consistent predictors of cognitive anxiety, somatic anxiety, and confidence, respectively. The findings help further develop Smith’s (1996) model and suggest that the appraisal process underlying multidimensional state anxiety is influenced by individual differences in a number of achievement-related constructs.

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Ross Roberts, Mike Rotheram, Ian Maynard, Owen Thomas, and Tim Woodman

The present investigation examined whether perfectionism might predict whether an athlete would suffer from the ‘yips’ (a long term movement disorder consisting of involuntary movements that affects the execution of motor skills). A sample of ‘yips’-affected individuals from golf, cricket, and darts as well as a sport-matched sample of non ’yips’-affected athletes completed the shortened version of Frost, Marten, Lahart, and Rosenblate’s (1990) multidimensional perfectionism scale (FMPS). Results revealed that three aspects of perfectionism (personal standards, organization, and concern over mistakes) were associated with a greater likelihood of suffering from the ‘yips’, indicating that ‘yips’ sufferers had an unhealthy perfectionism profile. The results highlight perfectionism as a possible antecedent of the ‘yips’ experience within sport.

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Patrick Gaudreau and Sheilah Antl

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.