Perfectionism and junior athlete burnout: the mediating role of autonomous and controlled motivation

Gareth E. Jowett, Andrew P. Hill, Howard K. Hall, Thomas Curran

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Abstract

Certain dimensions of perfectionism appear to place junior athletes at greater risk of burnout. The current study adopted self-determination theory to explain why this is the case. Specifically, as athlete burnout is believed to have a motivational signature that can be described using motivational regulation, the study examined whether autonomous motivation and controlled motivation mediated the perfectionism–burnout relationship. Junior athletes (n = 211, M age = 15.61 years, s = 1.73) completed measures of multidimensional perfectionism, athlete burnout, and motivational regulation. Structural equation modeling revealed that autonomous motivation and controlled motivation partially mediated the relationship between perfectionism and burnout. Perfectionistic concerns had a positive direct and indirect (via controlled motivation) relationship with burnout. In contrast, perfectionistic strivings had a negative direct and indirect (via autonomous motivation) relationship with burnout. The findings suggest that perfectionistic concerns encompass a pattern of motivational regulation, which contributes to the occurrence of athlete burnout, whereas perfectionistic strivings encompass a pattern of motivational regulation inversely associated with athlete burnout.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-61
Number of pages14
JournalSport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology
Volume2
Issue number1
Early online date27 Aug 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

Keywords

  • burnout
  • perfectionistic concerns
  • perfectionistic strivings
  • self-determination theory
  • sport

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