The Performance Trajectory of Physical Education Students Differs Across Subtypes of Perfectionism: A Piecewise Growth Curve Model of the 2 × 2 Model of Perfectionism

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Abstract

In their 2 × 2 model of perfectionism, Gaudreau and Thompson (2010) proposed that 4 prototypical subtypes of perfectionism—nonperfectionism, pure self-oriented perfectionism, pure socially prescribed perfectionism, and mixed perfectionism—are distinctively associated with antecedents, processes, and outcomes. The purpose of this study was to test whether the 4 subtypes of perfectionism would be associated with different performance trajectories for students who are learning a new motor task across 6 physical education classes. A sample of 97 adolescent students completed a questionnaire measuring perfectionism and were then introduced to acrobatic gymnastics by their physical education teacher. Participants had to practice the movements of acrobatic gymnastics in each class and were evaluated by their physical education teacher at the end of each class. The results of a piecewise multilevel growth model showed a decrease in performance in the first segment (i.e., Classes 1–3) followed by an increase in performance in the second segment (i.e., Classes 3–6). Perfectionism predicted the first segment of the performance trajectory. Overall, the results revealed that pure self-oriented perfectionism was associated with a better performance trajectory than nonperfectionism (Hypothesis 1a) and mixed perfectionism (Hypothesis 4). Conversely, pure socially prescribed perfectionism was associated with a worse performance trajectory than nonperfectionism (Hypothesis 2) and mixed perfectionism (Hypothesis 3). This study offered support for the 4 hypotheses of the 2 × 2 model and has important implications for future research on perfectionism and performance trajectories across different learning environments.

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