Perfectionism and competitive anxiety in athletes: Differentiating striving for perfection and negative reactions to imperfection

Stoeber, Joachim and Otto, Kathleen and Pescheck, Eva and Becker, Claudia and Stoll, Oliver (2007) Perfectionism and competitive anxiety in athletes: Differentiating striving for perfection and negative reactions to imperfection. Personality and Individual Differences, 42 (6). pp. 959-969. ISSN 0191-8869. (Full text available)

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2006.09.006

Abstract

Whereas some researchers have argued that perfectionism in sports is maladaptive because it is related to dysfunctional characteristics Such as higher competitive anxiety, the present article argues that striving for perfection is not maladaptive and is unrelated to competitive anxiety. Four samples of athletes (high school athletes, female soccer players, and two samples of university student athletes) completed measures of perfectionism during competitions and competitive anxiety. Across samples, results show that overall perfectionism was associated with higher cognitive and somatic competitive anxiety. However, when striving for perfection and negative reactions to imperfection were differentiated, only the latter were associated with higher anxiety, whereas striving for perfection was unrelated to anxiety. Moreover, once the influence of negative reactions to imperfection was partialled out, striving for perfection was associated with lower anxiety and higher self-confidence. The present findings suggest that striving for perfection in sports is not maladaptive. On the contrary, athletes who strive for perfection and successfully control their negative reactions to imperfection may even experience less anxiety and more self-confidence during competitions.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: perfectionism; sport; exercise; anxiety; self-confidence
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Joachim Stoeber
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2008 18:03
Last Modified: 07 May 2014 10:05
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/2592 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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