Multidimensional perfectionism and motivation in sport : potential mediating and moderating variables
AuthorsHill, Andrew P.
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AbstractRecent research has found that self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism have distinct consequences for athletes. The purpose of the thesis was to extend this research by further examining their motivational consequences for athletes and identifying the psychological mechanisms that explain their divergent consequences. The first two studies suggested that the positive relationship between socially prescribed perfectionism and athlete burnout was mediated by the tendency to engage in validation-seeking and utilise avoidant coping, whereas the inverse relationship between self-oriented perfectionism and athlete burnout was mediated by the tendency to utilise problem-focused coping and eschew avoidant coping. Because these initial studies provided little evidence to suggest that self-oriented perfectionism has negative psychological consequences for athletes, the nature of self-oriented perfectionism and its consequences were examined more closely in two subsequent studies. A comparative study examining similarities and differences in the correlates of selforiented perfectionism and conscientious achievement striving found that while both include a commitment to high standards, self-oriented perfectionism also includes a concern over mistakes, fear of failure and negative reactions to imperfection. An experimental study examining the response of student-athletes II higher in this dimension of perfectionism to successive failures further suggested that, in comparison to those with lower levels of self-oriented perfectionism, those with higher levels of self-oriented perfectionism experienced a more pronounced increase in threat following an initial failure and reported withdrawing effort from the subsequent performance. The final two studies suggest that the divergent consequences of these two dimensions of perfectionism may also be explained by differences in the controllability of sources of self-worth and evaluative standards. In addition, in some instances, perceptions of the achievement climate may influence the self-criticism experienced by perfectionists. Collectively, this series of studies suggest that socially prescribed perfectionism will invariably lead to motivational and psychological difficulties for athletes. In contrast, such difficulties may not be inevitable for those with higher levels of self-oriented perfectionism; however, it may render athletes vulnerable to psychological difficulties when personal standards are not meet.
CitationHill, A. (2009) Multidimensional perfectionism and motivation in sport : potential mediating and moderating variablesUnpublished Thesis (PhD), University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
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