Perfectionism purportedly bestows vulnerability to distress through an interaction with achievement and interpersonal stress. The authors test this by assessing athletes' perfectionism and subsequent self-conscious emotion following repeated competitive failure. A total of 60 college athletes undertook three 4-min competitive sprint trials on a cycle ergometer and were instructed that they had performed the worst of all competitors on each occasion. Measures of perfectionism (self-oriented and socially prescribed) were taken at baseline and measures of pride, guilt, and shame were taken at baseline and three times following each successive failure. Across the successive failures, self-oriented perfectionism predicted within-person trajectories of decreasing pride and increasing guilt. Socially prescribed perfectionism predicted within-person trajectories of increasing shame and guilt. Furthermore, a combination of high self-oriented and high socially prescribed perfectionism predicted the steepest within-person increases in shame and guilt. Findings support an achievement-specific vulnerability hypothesis whereby those higher in perfectionism experience pronounced distress following competitive failure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Psychology