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Perfectionism, dysfunctional achievement striving and burnout in aspiring athletes: The motivational implications for performing artists

Hall, Howard and Hill, Andrew P. (2012) Perfectionism, dysfunctional achievement striving and burnout in aspiring athletes: The motivational implications for performing artists. Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 3 (2). pp. 216-218.

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Abstract

While perfectionism is a personality characteristic that may energise heightened achievement
striving and lead to considerable success, it may also elicit a range of maladaptive processes
which undermine motivation, impair performance and contribute to psychological distress.
This paper is informed by research on perfectionism in social, clinical and sport psychology. It
presents evidence to suggest that perfectionism may have paradoxical effects on those seeking
to excel in sport, and warns that the same debilitating processes may be observed in other
performance contexts. After first outlining the nature of perfectionism, the paper attempts to
differentiate perfectionism from adaptive achievement striving, and explain the process by
which perfectionism may undermine the quality of motivation and contribute to burnout in
aspiring athletes. It then presents evidence to demonstrate that this characteristic may have
similarly debilitating consequences in the performing arts. Finally, the paper offers some
practical strategies for those working with performing artists exhibiting perfectionistic
tendencies. These strategies focus upon modification of psychological mechanisms which
underpin debilitating patterns of cognition, affect and behaviour, and they suggest how
perfectionism and its destructive effects might be successfully managed in performance
contexts while enabling individuals to sustain high quality motivation in their pursuit of
excellence.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/19443927.2012.693534
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
School/Department: School of Sport
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/704

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