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Conceptualizing Perfectionism: An Overview and Unresolved Issues

Hill, Andrew P. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6370-8901 (2016) Conceptualizing Perfectionism: An Overview and Unresolved Issues. In: Hill, Andrew P. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6370-8901, (ed.) The Psychology of Perfectionism in Sport, Dance, and Exercise. Routledge

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This chapter provides a historical overview of the concept of perfectionism. In doing so, current approaches and unresolved issues are described and traced to their origins. The first section details descriptions of perfectionism provided by early clinicians and theorists. The second section outlines three common models of perfectionism adopted in sport, dance, and exercise. The third section explains a number of ongoing debates and unresolved issues. These include the relevance of perfectionism beyond a clinical context, whether perfectionism is unidimensional or multidimensional, a trait or disposition, and can be found in a normal, healthy, or adaptive form. It is argued that perfectionism is a multidimensional personality trait that is relevant in a wide range of domains, particularly in sport, dance, and exercise. In addition, the notion of the heathy perfectionist is challenged on the grounds of conceptual ambiguity, ill-advised labelling, and a lack of convincing evidence for a typology of perfectionism. A more fruitful and conciliatory approach is advocated that focuses on the circumstances in which perfectionism is likely to be beneficial or problematic for athletes, dancers, and exercisers. This perspective places particular emphasis on other accompanying individual and situational factors that serve to promote desirable features, mitigate risk, or increase vulnerability with regards to performance, motivation and wellbeing.

Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
School/Department: School of Science, Technology and Health
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/1417

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