Domain-specific perfectionism in intercollegiate athletes: Relationships with perceived competence and perceived importance in sport and school

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Objectives:To examine the domain-specific nature of perfectionism in sport and school, and to examine potential links between domain-specific perceived competence, perceived importance (task value), and perfectionism in sport and school.Design and Method:A total of 255 male and female varsity student-athletes from a successful intercollegiate sport program completed domain-specific (i.e., sport and school) versions of Hewitt and Flett's (1991) Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (HF-MPS). Participants also completed an inventory designed to assess perceived competence (PC) in sport versus school and perceived importance (PI) of success in sport versus school.Results:Exploratory factor analyses conducted on perfectionism data indicated that perfectionist orientations were organized around domain-specific as opposed to global perfectionist tendencies. Regression analyses indicated that PC was a significant predictor of domain-specific levels of self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism (ps < .05), and PI was a significant predictor of domain-specific levels of self-oriented, socially prescribed, and other-oriented perfectionism (ps < .001). A repeated-measures MANOVA revealed that student-athletes had significantly higher levels of perfectionism in sport than school (ps < .0001) across all three HF-MPS subscales.Conclusion:Results reinforce the value of measuring perfectionism as a domain-specific (rather than global) personality disposition, and identify the potential role that perceived competence and perceived importance may play in the development of domain-specific perfectionism.

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