The Role of Perfectionism in Athletes: Diagnosis and Relationship with Anxiety, Mental Images and Sports Motivation



The article analyzes the results of studying the features of perfectionism and its relationship with anxiety, internal and external motivation, and mental images in athletes. The authors relied on R. Frost’s concept of the multidimensional structure of perfectionism and the division of its parameters into adaptive and maladaptive. The study involved 249 athletes (Mage=20,18; SDage=3,13) from different regions of the Russian Federation. As a result, it was shown that trait anxiety is significantly higher in athletes with a higher level of perfectionism. Adaptive parameters of perfectionism (“personal standards and organization”) are positively correlated with all parameters of internal motivation in athletes (“motivation to know”, “experience stimulation” and “motivation toward accomplishments”). In addition, maladaptive parameter such as “doubts about actions” negatively correlate with all parameters of internal motivation. The external motivation parameter “social approval” is significantly associated with all parameters of maladaptive perfectionism (“perceived coach pressure”, “perceived parental pressure”, “concern over mistakes”, “doubts about actions”). In addition, the parameter “personal standards and organization” has a significant impact on the frequency of using all types of mental images.

General Information

Keywords: perfectionism, sport psychology, perfectionism in sport, personality of athletes

Journal rubric: Empirical and Experimental Research

Article type: scientific article


Received: 15.04.2021


For citation: Veraksa A.N., Yakushina A.A., Semenov Y.I. The Role of Perfectionism in Athletes: Diagnosis and Relationship with Anxiety, Mental Images and Sports Motivation. Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. Psychology, 2021. Vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 202–221. DOI: 10.21638/spbu16.2021.301. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


Appleton, P. R., Hall, H. K., Hill, A. P. (2011). Examining the influence of the parent initiated and coach-created motivational climate upon athletes’ perfectionistic cognitions. Journal of Sports Sciences, 29 (7), 661–671.

Information About the Authors

Aleksandr N. Veraksa, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Head of the Department of Educational Psychology and Pedagogy, Faculty of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Vice-Director of Psychological Institute, Russian Academy of Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Anastasia A. Yakushina, Lecturer, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Yuri I. Semenov, Researcher, Scientific and Educational Center of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Yakutsk, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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