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Helping soccer players help themselves: Effectiveness of a psychoeducational book in reducing perfectionism

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Tracy DonachieORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Building on research that has shown psychoeducational or self-help books to be effective in reducing perfectionism outside of sport, the current study examined the effectiveness of a self-help book (“When Perfect Isn’t Good Enough”; Antony & Swinson, 2009) in reducing perfectionism among athletes. One hundred and fifteen soccer players (male = 44, female = 71, M age = 21.62 years, SD = 5.03) were randomly allocated to a self-help intervention group (n = 55) or a control group (n = 60). Participants completed the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale, Perfectionistic Cognitions Inventory-10, Attitudes Towards Seeking Professional Psychological Help-Short Form and Sport Emotion Questionnaire pre-intervention, post-intervention (8-weeks later) and at follow-up (5-weeks later). A 2 (group) x 3 (time) factorial ANOVA revealed a significant group x time interaction for socially prescribed perfectionism, perfectionistic cognitions, and negative pre-competition emotions (anxiety, anger, and dejection). Post-intervention, moderate-to-large between-group differences were evident for perfectionistic cognitions and anxiety (d = 0.75 and 0.59). At follow-up, moderate-to-large between-group differences were evident for socially prescribed perfectionism, perfectionistic cognitions, and anxiety (d = 0.51, 1.15, and 0.70). The findings suggest that self-help books may be useful for reducing perfectionism among athletes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Donachie TC, Hill AP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology

Year: 2022

Volume: 34

Issue: 3

Pages: 564-584

Online publication date: 23/09/2020

Acceptance date: 01/09/2020

Date deposited: 07/06/2021

ISSN (print): 1041-3200

ISSN (electronic): 1533-1571

Publisher: Taylor & Francis


DOI: 10.1080/10413200.2020.1819472


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