White Rose University Consortium logo
University of Leeds logo University of Sheffield logo York University logo

Perfectionism and burnout in junior elite soccer players: The mediating influence of unconditional self-acceptance

Hill, AP, Hall, HK, Appleton, PR and Kozub, SA (2008) Perfectionism and burnout in junior elite soccer players: The mediating influence of unconditional self-acceptance. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 9 (5). 630 - 644 (14). ISSN 1469-0292


Objectives: It has been argued that elite junior athletes may be especially vulnerable to the development of burnout [Coakley, D. (1992). Burnout among adolescent athletes: A personal failure or social problem. Sociology, 9, 271–285; Feigley, D. A. (1984). Psychological burnout in high-level athletes. The Physician and Sports Medicine, 12, 108–119; Raedeke, T. D. (1997). Is athlete burnout more than just stress? A sport commitment perspective. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 19, 396–418]. Few studies to date have examined the psychological mechanisms that may underpin this vulnerability. One exception was a study by Gould, Tuffrey, Udry, and Loehr [(1996). Burnout in competitive junior tennis players: I. A quantitative psychological assessment. The Sport Psychologist, 10, 332–340], which found that a form of perfectionism reflecting a preoccupation with avoiding mistakes differentiated between burnout and non-burnout tennis players. The first purpose of the present investigation was to extend this research and examine the influence of self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism on burnout in elite junior soccer players. A second purpose was to examine whether the association between perfectionism and burnout was mediated by unconditional self-acceptance. Design: A correlational design was employed. Method: One hundred and fifty-one soccer players (M age ¼ 14.4 years, SD ¼ 2.4 years) completed an inventory that included Flett and Hewitt’s (1991) Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale, Chamberlain and Haaga’s (2003) Unconditional Self-acceptance Scale, and Raedeke and Smith’s [(2001). Development and preliminary validation of an athlete burnout measure. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 23, 281–306] Athlete Burnout Questionnaire (ABQ). Results: Structural equation modeling indicated that unconditional self-acceptance partially mediated the relationship between the two dimensions of perfectionism and athlete burnout. Contrary to the hypotheses, self-oriented perfectionism demonstrated both a positive indirect association with symptoms of burnout, as well as a direct inverse relationship. Conclusion: The findings provide support for the contention that a contingent sense of self-worth is central to both socially prescribed and self-oriented perfectionism [Flett, Besser, Davis, & Hewitt (2003). Dimensions of perfectionism, unconditional self-acceptance, and depression. Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 21, 119–138; Flett, Hewitt, Oliver, &MacDonald (2002). Perfectionism in children and their parents: A developmental analysis. In G. L. Flett & P. Hewitt (Eds.), Perfectionism: Theory, research and treatment (pp. 89–132). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association], and that this association may underpin maladaptive achievement striving and increase vulnerability to athlete burnout.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Biological Sciences (Leeds) > Institute of Membrane and Systems Biology (Leeds)
Depositing User: Symplectic Publications
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2012 09:17
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2014 01:28
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2007.09.004
Status: Published
Publisher: Elsevier
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2007.09.004
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/74563

Actions (repository staff only: login required)