Examining perfectionism in elite junior athletes : measurement and development issues
AuthorsAppleton, Paul Richard
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AbstractThe major theme of the current thesis was the definition, measurement, and development of perfectionism in elite junior sport. The first purpose was to examine the psychometric properties associated with Hewitt and Flett’s (1991) Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (MPS-HF) when complete by a sample of elite junior athletes. In study one, a confirmatory factor analysis failed to support the original structure of 45-item MPS-HF. Subsequent exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses revealed a more parsimonious 15-item factor structure representing self-oriented (SOP), socially prescribed (SPP), and other-oriented perfectionism (OOP). Having established a reconstituted version of the MPS-HF, a second purpose of the research programme was to consider the origins of perfectionism in elite junior athletes using a cross-sectional design. Initially, in study two a social learning model was supported, with 18%-26% of variance in athletes’ perfectionism predicted by parents’ perfectionism. Building upon this finding in study three, a structural equation model revealed that parenting styles, including empathy and psychological control, mediated the parent-athletic child SPP relationship. In study four, a significant pathway emerged between parents’ achievement goals and athletes’ dispositional perfectionism, offering support for a social expectations model of perfectionism development. Specifically, parents’ task and ego orientations were positively associated with athletes’ SOP. In contrast, athletes’ SPP was predicted by parents’ ego orientation. Study four also demonstrated the nature and form of motivational regulation associated with athletes’ SOP and SPP. That is, a pathway emerged between athletes’ SPP and controlled forms of regulation, while athletes’ SOP was correlated with self-determined and controlled motivation. Finally, in study five, the coach-created motivational climate accounted for approximately 19% of variance in athletes’ perfectionistic cognitions, highlighting the role of additional social agents in the development of athletes’ perfectionism. The results of this research programme contribute to existing knowledge of perfectionism by forwarding reliable measures of SOP and SPP for employment in sport, and revealing a complex array of pathways that underpin the development of perfectionism in elite junior athletes. Ultimately, by preventing the occurrence of such pathways, athletic children may be protected from the perils of perfectionism.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
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