Term of Award

Summer 2023

Degree Name

Master of Science, Kinesiology - Sport and Exercise Psychology Concentration

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Megan Byrd

Committee Member 1

Brandonn Harris

Committee Member 2

Jenna Tomalski


Sport and performance psychology (SPP) professionals working in performance-enhancement training, counseling/clinical psychology, academia, and the military, face various work demands that can lead to chronic stress and impaired well-being (McCormack, 2019). Perfectionism is a multi-dimensional personality trait in which an individual sets excessively high personal standards of performance (Burns, 1980; Frost et al., 1990; Hamachek, 1978; Hewitt & Flett, 1990). While striving for high standards is not necessarily a negative trait, perfectionism is not considered a healthy pursuit of excellence, rather a “compulsive drive to achieve flawlessness” (Burns, 1980, p. 38). Given that SPP professionals’ responsibilities are to help athletes and other performers maintain optimal mental health and performance, providers may be expected to meet unrealistic expectations in these arenas. For the perfectionistic SPP professional, coping with failing to meet such expectations, as well as organizational demands and stressors, may be particularly challenging. However, there has been no research to explore perfectionism in SPP professionals or how perfectionism influences well-being in this population. The purpose of this study was to analyze the impact of SPP professionals’ perfectionism on their psychological well-being (PWB). The study sample consisted of 81 SPP professionals. Results indicated that discrepancy, defined as the perception of failing to meet one’s high standards or expectations, had strong, significant, negative correlations to overall PWB [r(81) = .731, p < 0.01] and four components of PWB (i.e., autonomy, environmental mastery, positive relations with others, and self-acceptance). Furthermore, discrepancy accounted for almost half of the variance in environmental mastery and more than half of the variance in self-acceptance and overall PWB. Therefore, this study provides support that perfectionism is not only negatively correlated to PWB but can also predict specific components of one’s PWB. Given the implications of perfectionism, it is critical to gain a better understanding of the potential impact of perfectionism in SPP professionals as it may guide future interventions to prevent mental health concerns and optimize well-being in this population.

Research Data and Supplementary Material