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A qualitative study of perfectionism among self-identified perfectionists in sport, dance, and music.

Hill, Andrew P. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6370-8901, Witcher, C S G, Gotwals, J K and Leyland, A F (2015) A qualitative study of perfectionism among self-identified perfectionists in sport, dance, and music. Sport, exercise and performance psychology, 44 (4). pp. 237-253.

Hill Witcher Gotwals Leyland (in press) SEPP.pdf - Accepted Version

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When adopting any measure of perfectionism to examine the characteristic in sport or the 2 performing arts, researchers make assumptions regarding its core features and, sometimes, its 3 effects. So to avoid doing so, in the current study we employed qualitative methods to examine 4 the accounts of self-identified perfectionists. Specifically, the purpose of this study was to 5 explore the opinions and perceptions of high-level, self-identified perfectionists from sport, 6 dance, and music. In particular, we sought to obtain detailed information regarding (i) 7 participants’ perceptions of the main features of being a perfectionist and (ii) how they perceived 8 being a perfectionist to influence their lives. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 9 international/professional athletes, dancers, and musicians. Thematic analysis was used to 10 identify patterns and themes within the transcripts. Three overarching themes were identified: 11 drive, accomplishment, and strain. Being a perfectionist was characterised by the participants as 12 having ever increasing standards, obsessiveness, rigid and dichotomous thinking, and 13 dissatisfaction. The participants also described how being a perfectionist influenced their lives 14 by, on the one hand, providing greater capacity for success in their respective domains but, on 15 the other hand, contributing to varying degrees of personal and interpersonal difficulties. The 16 accounts suggest that, in the main, the content of current models and measures adequately 17 capture the features of being a perfectionist in sport and performing arts. However, a greater 18 focus on obsessiveness, dissatisfaction, and intra- versus inter-personal dimensions of 19 perfectionism would provide further insight into the lives of perfectionists in these domains.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/spy0000041
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
School/Department: School of Science, Technology and Health
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/716

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