The cognitive, affective and behavioural responses of self-oriented perfectionists following successive failure on a muscular endurance task

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  • York St John University


Recent research suggests that self-oriented perfectionism may be a positive dimension of perfectionism. However, Flett and Hewitt (2005, 2006) have argued that while this dimension may appear to have some desirable consequences, it renders those high in the disposition vulnerable to psychological and motivational difficulties when personal standards are not met. The present investigation sought to examine this assertion by comparing the cognitive, affective and behavioural responses of those reporting higher and lower self-oriented perfectionism after experiencing two successive failures on a muscular endurance task. Sixty-eight student-athletes (M age = 19.75 years, SD = 1.25 years) performed a series of cycling trials in which they failed to meet personal performance targets. Providing some support for Flett and Hewitt’s assertions, findings indicated that following failure in the first trial, those higher in self-oriented perfectionism experienced a more pronounced increase in threat and reported withdrawing effort from the subsequent trial.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189–207
JournalInternational Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • motivation, achievement, sport