PERFECTIONISM AND MOTIVATION IN YOUTH SOCCER PLAYERS: A GENDER PERSPECTIVE
 
Lemyre, P.N., Norwegian University of Sport and Physical Education, Norway
 
Achievement Goal Theory suggests that an individual involved in an achievement context such as sport will likely operate in a state of ego involvement or task involvement. These motivational states are orthogonal and originate from the interaction of the athlete's dispositional goals and the motivational climate. Typically, a task-involved athlete practices sport for its own intrinsic properties; interpretation of success is self- referenced. An ego-involved athlete will strive to win and demonstrate superior ability. Recent research has demonstrated a significant overlap between athletes' own meanings of success and different dimensions of perfectionism (Hall et al., 1998). Ego involvement (Lemyre et al., 2002) and high levels of neurotic perfectionism (Gould et al., 1996) have been linked to maladaptive behavior in sport. This study aims to further investigate the relationship between perfectionism, achievement goals and the perception of the motivational climate in youth sport. Participants were 488 girls and 1231 boys soccer players (13 to 17 y/o) competing in an international soccer tournament. On the third day of the tournament, the players answered a questionnaire that included translated versions of the MPS (Frost et al., 1990), the children version of the POSQ (Treasure & Roberts, 1994) and the PMCSQ (Seifritz et al, 1992). Results indicate that perfectionism is negatively related to high task orientation for both genders, and ego orientation is positively related to neurotic perfectionism. Interestingly a perception of high mastery climate is positively related to neurotic perfectionism. Implications are discussed.