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Managing Athlete Perfectionism in Sport

Watson, Dean Richard (2023) Managing Athlete Perfectionism in Sport. Doctoral thesis, York St John University.

[img] Text (Doctoral thesis)
Dean Watson, Managing Athlete Perfectionism in Sport.pdf - Published Version
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Perfectionism has been found to contribute to negative performance and well-being outcomes for athletes. However, there is little research on how sport psychology practitioners can support athletes with perfectionism. The broad aim of this thesis was to examine the relationship between perfectionism and mental health support and test novel ways of reducing perfectionism in sport. To achieve this aim, four empirical studies were conducted. The first study adopted a cross-sectional, survey-based design and found that athletes with higher levels of some dimensions of trait perfectionism had more negative attitudes towards seeking help for both sport psychology support and mental health support. The second study adopted a single-subject multiple baseline design and found that while a psychological skills training intervention was beneficial for pre-competitive emotions and performance satisfaction, it was not effective at reducing perfectionism cognitions in athletes. The third study adopted another single-subject multiple baseline design, this time testing three different cognitive-behavioural approaches (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy) and found support for all three in reducing perfectionism cognitions with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy providing the largest benefits. With these findings as impetus, the fourth study examined the effectiveness of an online Acceptance and Commitment Therapy-based intervention for reducing trait perfectionism, perfectionism cognitions, and negative pre-competition emotions. The findings suggest that online Acceptance and Commitment Therapy-based interventions are a viable and effective way to reduce perfectionism. Collectively, the thesis provides support for cognitive-behavioural approaches in reducing trait and perfectionism cognitions in athletes. In addition, the thesis demonstrates the complex nature of perfectionism, with practitioners urged to adapt their practice when working with perfectionistic athletes.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Status: Published
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV0733-734.5 Professionalism in sports. Professional sports (General)
School/Department: School of Science, Technology and Health
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/9916

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