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Psychological Skills Training and Perfectionism: A Single-Subject Multiple Baseline Study

Watson, Dean R., Hill, Andrew P. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6370-8901 and Madigan, Daniel J. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9937-1818 (2022) Psychological Skills Training and Perfectionism: A Single-Subject Multiple Baseline Study. Journal of applied sport psychology, 35 (5). pp. 854-873.

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Psychological skills training (PST) is a common and effective form of support provided by sports psychologists. Nevertheless, its use in helping support athletes with perfectionism and some of the problematic issues they can face is unknown. The purpose of the present study was to assess the effectiveness of PST in reducing perfectionistic cognitions and improving emotional experiences in athletes. Using a single-subject multiple baseline research design, we recruited five national-level basketball players (M = 21.8 years) based on their concerns over mistakes (a key dimension of perfectionistic concerns). All participants received eight, one-to-one PST sessions over a four-week period. Participants completed self-report measures of perfectionistic cognitions, cognitive appraisals, pre-competition emotions, and performance satisfaction on a weekly basis, before, during, and after the intervention, as well as 3-months later. Results suggested that PST improved at least some of the cognitive appraisals, pre-competition emotions, and performance satisfaction in most participants. Minimal changes were observed for perfectionistic cognitions. The findings support the general use of PST but other interventions may be required to reduce perfectionistic cognitions.

Lay summary: Perfectionistic concerns are related to performance and well-being difficulties in athletes. We used a short PST intervention to examine if it can improve the experiences of athletes selected based on their concern over mistakes. The intervention was effective for some aspects of their experiences, such as pre-competition emotions and performance satisfaction but less effective for the perfectionistic cognitions they reported.

Sport psychologists are better informed as to the effectiveness of PST when working with athletes.

The effectiveness of PST varies based on the individual and the intended outcome.

There is a need for more expert guidance on perfectionism for training sports psychologists.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10413200.2022.2137597
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
School/Department: School of Science, Technology and Health
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/6844

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