Examining the relationship between sport-based perfectionism and perceptions of parenting styles among male youth hockey players
SubjectPerfectionism and parenting style within youth sport
Perspectives on perfectionism
Parenting styles and perfectionism
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In the past, most studies investigating parenting in youth sport have failed to include the athlete’s perspective and the possible influence his/her individual personality traits might have on those perceptions. This study addressed this concern by examining whether perceptions of parenting styles differ in relation to youth athletes’ perfectionist orientations. Given the multiple roles that parents play in their child’s athletic career, that sensitivity to parental expectations and criticism are central characteristics of perfectionism, and that sport is an environment conducive to the development of perfectionist tendencies, the importance of parental criticism and praise may be exaggerated in the case of perfectionist athletes. However, there are different approaches to the conceptualization of perfectionism (i.e., the categorical approach vs. the dimensional approach), with each leading to different predictions as to how perfectionists perceive significant others. Additionally, the only other study to examine the association between perfectionism and parenting style within youth sport (i.e., Sapieja, Dunn, & Holt, 2011) was limited in that it focused on only one of Baumrind’s (1991) three primary parenting styles and only sampled youth athletes from the sport of soccer. The present study took these points into account by a) using an analytical technique (i.e., cluster analysis) that allowed for the consideration of both categorical and dimensional approaches to perfectionism, b) assessing perceptions of Baumrind’s authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive parenting styles, and c) examining if Sapieja et al.’s (2011) results generalize to athletes from the sport of ice hockey. A total of 93 male youth hockey players (M age = 16.21 years; SD = 1.41) completed multiple measures of sport-based perfectionism and a measure of perception of parenting styles. Cluster analyses conducted on the self-report perfectionism data produced multiple cluster solutions. The final three-cluster solution was chosen based on fit indices and alignment with the dimensional approach to perfectionism. The three independent clusters were labelled high strivings-high concerns, moderate strivings-moderate concerns, and moderate strivings-low concerns perfectionists. Inter-cluster comparisons revealed that high strivings-high concerns perfectionists perceived authoritarian parenting to a greater degree than moderate strivings-low concerns perfectionists. High strivings-high concerns perfectionists also perceived authoritative parenting to a greater degree than moderate strivings-moderate concerns perfectionists. When considered alongside past research (e.g., Hewitt, Flett, & Singer, 1995; Kawamura, Frost, & Harmatz, 2002; Sapieja et al., 2011) these results suggest a complex relationship between perfectionism and perceptions of parenting style among youth athletes. To add clarity to this relationship, future research should consider: incorporating the perspectives of female youth athletes, determining whether relationships differ when perceptions of a single parent’s parenting style is considered, and investigating if results extend to perceptions of coaching style.