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Perfectionism and performance in sport, education, and the workplace

Madigan, Daniel J., Hill, Andrew P., Mallinson-Howard, Sarah H., Curran, Thomas and Jowett, Gareth E. (2018) Perfectionism and performance in sport, education, and the workplace. In: Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Psychology. Oxford University Press, 23pp

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Abstract

Perfectionism and performance have long been intertwined. The conceptual history of this relationship is best considered complex, with some theorists maintaining that perfectionism is likely to impair performance and others more recently suggesting that aspects of perfectionism may form part of a healthy pursuit of excellence. Recent studies on perfectionism and performance in sport, education, and the workplace provide us with evidence that perfectionism is indeed an important characteristic in achievement domains. However, this relationship is exceedingly complex. In examining this relationship empirically, researchers have distinguished between two dimensions of perfectionism. The first is perfectionistic strivings that comprise high personal standards and a self-oriented striving for perfection. The second is perfectionistic concerns that comprise a preoccupation with mistakes and negative reactions to imperfection. With regard to perfectionistic strivings, research has revealed that in certain circumstances they are related to better performance. Evidence for this is strongest in education but notably mixed in sport and the workplace. With regard to perfectionistic concerns, while there is evidence that they may not directly impair performance, there is also enough evidence that they may have a detrimental indirect influence on performance. Based on existing research, we argue that there is currently too little research and too many mixed findings to conclude perfectionistic strivings forms part of a healthy pursuit of excellence. In addition, the role of perfectionistic concerns for performance is likely to be more substantive than currently suggested.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: "This material was originally published in Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Psychology [2018] and has been reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press http://oxfordre.com/psychology/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190236557.001.0001/acrefore-9780190236557-e-166?rskey=Egh51W&result=1 For permission to reuse this material, please visit http://global.oup.com/academic/rights."
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190236557.013.166
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF698-698.9 Personality
School/Department: School of Sport
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/3798

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