Perfectionism predicts injury in junior athletes: Preliminary evidence from a prospective study

J Sports Sci. 2018 Mar;36(5):545-550. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2017.1322709. Epub 2017 May 8.


According to the stress-injury model (Williams & Andersen, 1998), personality factors predisposing athletes to elevated levels of stress may increase the risk of injury. As perfectionism has been associated with chronic stress, it may be one such personality factor. So far, however, no study has investigated the relationships between perfectionism and injury utilising a prospective design. Therefore, the present study examined perfectionistic strivings, perfectionistic concerns and injury in 80 junior athletes from team and individual sports (mean age 17.1 years; range 16-19 years) over 10 months of active training. The results of logistic regression analyses showed that perfectionism positively predicted injury, but only perfectionistic concerns emerged as a significant positive predictor. The likelihood of sustaining an injury was increased by over two times for each 1 SD increase in perfectionistic concerns. The findings suggest that perfectionistic concerns may be a possible factor predisposing athletes to an increased risk of injury.

Keywords: Perfectionistic strivings; injury; junior athletes; longitudinal study; perfectionistic concerns.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / psychology*
  • Athletic Performance / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Perfectionism*
  • Physical Conditioning, Human
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult