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The Relationship Between Perfectionism and Symptoms of Depression in Young Athletes

Bruno Matijašević1, Paula Matijašević2
1 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Croatia
2 Faculty of Kinesiology, Croatia

Abstract. Perfectionism is an increasingly common negative tendency to set high goals and expectations, which may be the basis for the development of depressive symptoms in young athletes. The purpose of this paper is to identify aspects of perfectionism and their association with depressive symptoms in young athletes. The research was conducted with a sample of subjects (n = 256) aged 9 to 17 years, coming from different parts of Croatia. The respondents were active athletes from different sports, divided including team (n = 163) and individual (n = 93) sports. Two questionnaires on mood and feeling were used for the study: The Short Version (MFQ) was used to assess depressive symptoms and the Sport Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale 2 (SMPS-2) to assess aspects of perfectionism. The questionnaire consisted of 43 items to which participants gave their agreement on a five-point Likert scale. Data were analyzed using descriptive analysis and multiple regression analysis. A correlation was found between the total depression variable and six variables of mean perfectionism (R2 = 0.28). Four variables (high expectations, failure = complete failure, failure = annoyance, and rarely feeling that training prepared me for competition) were related to self-referential perfectionism, while the other two variables (coach criticizes everything except perfect performance, only outstanding performance is appreciated by the coach) were related to the coach and his influence. These variables are related to high expectations in sports, failure, frustration after a mistake, perception of the coach as a critical person who sets too high goals, and participants blaming themselves for poor training.

Keywords: adolescents, coach, depression, athletes, expectations

Bruno Matijašević, PhD candidate in Pedagogy and master of Primary Education. President of Incubatory of children´s excellence. Research interest leisure time, behavioural problems, school, sport and social pedagogy.

Paula Matijašević, PhD candidate of Kinesiology and master of Kinesiology. Work in Universal sports school. Research interest track and field, sports, school.

In: Human, Technologies and Quality of Education, 2023. Proceedings of Scientific Papers = Cilvēks, tehnoloģijas un izglītības kvalitāte, 2023. Rakstu krājums
Riga, University of Latvia, 2023. 796 p. Ed. L. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-36-116-6