Perfectionism and Perceptions of Social Loafing in Competitive Youth Soccer.
Numerous studies have examined social-loafing effects in physical (athletic) performance tasks. The majority of these studies have been conducted in coactive team/group contexts where the overall performance of teams is dependent upon the summation of individual performances (but where no specific interaction between team members is necessary: e.g., a swimming relay race). Coactive activities that have been used to study social-loafing effects in physical (athletic) performance tasks have included running (Swain, 1996), rowing (Anshel, 1995; Hardy & Crace, 1991), swimming (Williams, Nida, Baca, & Latane, 1989), and cycling (Haugen, Reinboth, Hetlelid, Peters, & Hoigaard, 2016). In these studies, effort/performance is typically assessed through objective measures of time/speed, distance travelled, and/or power output. The results of these studies have revealed drops in individual performance levels (e.g., reduced speed, reduced distance travelled, reduced power output) when the identifiability of each individual participant's performance was reduced (e.g., participants were informed that their individual performance was to be subsumed within an overall measure of group/team performance) in comparison to when the identifiability of each participant's performance was increased (e.g., participants were informed that their individual performance was to be directly recorded and publicly evaluated).
Although the aforementioned studies highlight the debilitating effects that social loafing can have upon individual- and team-performance in athletic tasks, social-loafing research in interactive team-sport settings is scarce. The lack of research in this area is likely due to the inherent difficulties associated with objectively measuring individual output (i.e., performance or effort) in interactive team sports (see Hoigaard et al., 2010). No published studies have directly measured the impact of social loafing on effort/performance in interactive team sports, however, researchers have assessed perceived social loafing (see Hoigaard, Safvenbom, & Tonnessen, 2006) in these contexts (where higher levels of perceived social loafing reflect a higher belief that teammates engage in social loafing). The limited body of research that has examined perceived social loafing in interactive team sports has shown perceived social loafing to be positively correlated with self-reported levels of social loafing among elite female team-handball players (Iloigaard et al., 2010), negatively correlated with perceptions of task- and social-cohesion among male youth soccer teams (Hoigaard, Safvenbom, et al., 2006), and negatively correlated with team identification (i.e., the degree to which athletes personally and/or socially identify with the achievements of their team) among female basketball, soccer, and volleyball players (De Backer, Boen, De Cuyper, Hoigaard, & Vande Broek, 2014).
Many reasons have been proposed to explain why people engage in social-loafing behaviors in sport- (see Gilson, 2014; Hardy, 1990) and non-sport settings (see Karau & Williams, 1993; Simms & Nichols, 2014). A detailed overview of these reasons is beyond the scope of this paper, nevertheless, some of the more frequently cited reasons include (a) a desire to avoid personal blame when group failure occurs (i.e., people 'hide in the crowd' by reducing personal identifiability within the group), (b) a belief that other people are not working hard so the individual will not be the 'sucker' who carries the workload for the rest of the team/group, and (c) a desire to save energy for situations when maximal individual benefit (e.g., praise or social recognition) can be obtained (see Hardy, 1990; Karau & Williams, 1993).
Although a number of situational conditions that influence the degree to which social loafing occurs in various performance settings have been identified in the literature--with increases in 'public evaluation' and 'individual identifiability' being among the key deterrents of social loafing (see Williams, Harkins, & Latane, 1981)--personality or dispositional characteristics of performers have also been linked to social loafing. For example, Tan and Tan (2008) reported that conscientiousness was negatively correlated with social loafing in a sample of undergraduate students, and Smrt and Karau (2011) also found that protestant work ethic--defined as "an orientation toward work which emphasizes dedication to hard work, deferment of immediate rewards, conservation of resources, the saving of surplus wealth, and the avoidance of idleness and waste in any form" (Smrt & Karau, 2011, p. 267)--was negatively correlated with social loafing (as measured by the frequency of ideas generated in an academic task) among undergraduate students.
Dispositional characteristics of performers have also been linked to social loafing in athletic tasks. For example, results of a study conducted by Swain (1996) with male high school students (who were exposed to different running relay tasks in a gymnasium) revealed that individuals who had high ego-orientation combined with low task-orientation (see Nicholls, 1989) socially loafed (i.e., ran slower) in a low-identifiability situation, whereas individuals who had high task-orientation combined with low ego-orientation did not socially loaf (i.e., did not run slower) in the same low-identifiability condition. In a more recent study involving male high school students (who participated in competitive or recreational sports), individuals with higher levels of mental toughness did not engage in social loafing in a cycling time-trial task (i.e., where performance/effort was measured by distance travelled on a cycling ergometer) whereas athletes with lower levels of mental toughness did engage in social loafing on the same task (see Haugen et al., 2016). Haugen et al. (2016) concluded that their results "confirm the importance of taking individual-difference characteristics into account when working with social loafing [in athletes]" (p. 309). One such characteristic that may play a role in the social loafing process in sport is perfectionism (Hoigaardet al., 2010).
Perfectionism in sport can be conceptualized as a domain-specific multidimensional achievement-motivation disposition that reflects the degree to which individuals (a) strive for the attainment of very high performance standards (in sport) and (b) are concerned about failing to meet these high standards (Dunn et al., 2016; Stoeber, 2011). Although many sub-dimensions (or facets) of perfectionism in sport have been proposed in the literature (for a recent review see Stoeber & Madigan, 2016), when analyzed together with multivariate techniques such as factor analysis, two higher-order dimensions--labelled perfectionistic strivings ma perfectionistic concerns--typically emerge (see Dunn et al., 2016; Stoeber & Madigan, 2016). Perfectionistic strivings in sport reflect "aspects of perfectionism associated with a self-oriented striving for perfection and the setting of very high personal performance standards" (Gotwals, Stoeber, Dunn, & Stoll, 2012, p. 264). In contrast, perfectionistic concerns in sport reflect "aspects of perfectionism associated with concerns over making mistakes, fear of negative social evaluation, feelings of discrepancy between one's expectations and performance, and negative reactions to imperfection" (Gotwals et al., 2012, p. 264).
As noted by Stoeber and Madigan (2016), "the differentiation of perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns is central to understanding multidimensional perfectionism" (p. 32) because perfectionistic concerns are typically associated with maladaptive, dysfunctional, or unhealthy processes and outcomes in sport, whereas perfectionistic strivings are more often associated with adaptive, functional, or healthy processes and outcomes in sport (particularly when perfectionistic concerns are low or when the overlap with perfectionistic concerns is controlled: see Gotwals et al., 2012; Jowett, Mallinson, & Hill, 2016). For example, athlete profiles of perfectionism involving the combination of high perfection-istic strivings with low perfectionistic concerns have been positively associated with task orientation (Dunn, Causgrove Dunn, & Syrotuik, 2002), healthy attitudinal body image (Dunn, Craft, Causgrove Dunn, & Gotwals, 2011), and confidence/optimism (Lizmore, Dunn, & Causgrove Dunn, 2016) in sport. In contrast, athlete profiles of perfectionism with the combination of high perfectionistic strivings with high perfectionistic concerns have been positively associated with ego orientation (Dunn et al., 2002) and negatively associated with healthy attitudinal body image (Dunn et al., 2011) and confidence/optimism (Lizmore et al., 2016) in sport.
Given that different profiles of perfectionism show different relationships with a variety of adaptive/functional and maladaptive/dysfunctional processes and outcomes in sport, it seems important to determine if perfectionism in sport may play a role in the social loafing process for athletes (see H0igaard et al., 2010). As noted previously, athletes with high perfectionistic strivings are typically driven by a desire to achieve very high standards of personal performance in sport. Consequently, engaging in social loafing would be considered antithetical to such a motivational orientation; giving less effort in training or competition (when maximal effort is expected or required) would mean that the highest personal performance standards were not being met. It is conceivable that athletes in interactive team sports who have high perfectionistic strivings might also be inclined to expect maximal effort from teammates because teammate effort/contribution is often necessary for the high perfectionistic-strivings athlete to achieve his/her own personal performance goals. For example, a soccer player who is striving to make the maximum contribution to his/her team cannot do so if teammates do not work hard to win the ball or make themselves available to receive the ball in order for the 'desired' play to occur.
A key aspect of heightened perfectionistic concerns in sport is the fear of failure (Gotwals et al., 2012; Stoeber, 2011). Perfectionism theorists have long suggested that the 'avoidance of failure' may be a stronger motivator than the 'desire to succeed' for individuals who have high perfectionistic concerns (see Blatt, 1995). Consequently, 'hiding in the crowd' to avoid the possibility of receiving personal blame for individual/team failure (see Karau & Williams, 1993) may be a particularly attractive social-loafing strategy for interactive team-sport athletes who are high in perfectionistic concerns. In addition, given that individuals with heightened perfectionistic concerns often have high levels of contingent self-worth (see McArdle, 2010)--where self-worth is based upon the attainment of high performance standards and the reception of positive social evaluation from others (see Stoeber & Otto, 2006)--it is conceivable that individuals with high perfectionistic concerns may elect to save their effort for times when they believe that maximum social benefit (e.g., social recognition or praise) can be attained. By engaging in 'effort management' (see Hardy, 1990), athletes with high perfectionistic concerns may adopt a more narcissistic, self-focussed, or self-promotional view of sport, which has been shown to correspond with heightened social loafing (i.e., reduced effort), particularly in conditions of low identifiability (see Woodman, Roberts, Hardy, Callow, & Rogers, 2011).
Given the aforementioned theorized links between perfectionistic strivings, perfectionistic concerns, and social loafing, the overarching purpose of this study was to explore the relationships between athletes' perfectionist orientations and perceptions of social loafing in sport. More specifically, the study sought to explore relationships between perfectionism (as represented by sub-dimensions of perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns) and perceived social loafing in a sample of competitive youth soccer players. Youth soccer was chosen because it has been shown to provide an appropriate (and useful) context in which perceived social loafing in athletes can be examined (see Hoigaard, SafVenbom, et al., 2006; Hoigaard, Tofteland, & Ommundsen, 2006), and because the structure of soccer (i.e., many players spread across a relatively large playing area) has the potential to provide conditions of low identifiability where social loafing can occur. No previous research has examined links between domain-specific perfectionism and perceived social loafing in interactive team sports.
Participants were 216 (162 female) youth soccer players (from 16 teams) who competed in the top (Tier I/II) competitive levels of under-16 age-group soccer in a Canadian province. (1) Athletes ranged in age from 13 to 16 years (Mage = 15.25, SD = 0.63) and had an average of 6.31 years (SD = 2.54) playing experience in competitive club soccer. The ethnic/ racial background of the participants consisted of 170 White, 9 Black, 4 Middle-Eastern, 4 Hispanic, 4 Asian, 4 First Nations, and 21 "other".
Participants completed four self-report inventories: (1) a demographic questionnaire, (2) the Sport-Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale-2 (Sport-MPS-2; Gotwals & Dunn, 2009), (3) the Perceived Social Loafing Questionnaire (PSLQ: Hoigaard, Safvenbom et al., 2006), and (4) a newly developed instrument named, the Social Loafing Acceptability
Sport-Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale-2. The Sport-MPS-2 (Gotwals & Dunn, 2009) is a domain-specific measure of perfectionism in sport that was originally modelled around the conceptualization of perfectionism contained within Frost, Marten, Lahart, and Rosenblate's (1990) Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale. The Sport-MPS-2 contains 42 items that are divided into six subscales. The Personal Standards (PS: 7 items) and Organization (ORG: 6 items) subscales measure sub-dimensions of perfectionistic strivings, whereas the Concern Over Mistakes (COM: 8 items), Perceived Parental Pressure (PPP: 9 items), Perceived Coach Pressure (PCP: 6 items) and Doubts About Actions (DAA: 6 items) subscales measure sub-dimensions of perfectionistic concerns (see Dunn et al., 2016; Gotwals & Dunn, 2009). Athletes rate items on a 5-point scale (1 = strongly disagree-, 5 = strongly agree) with higher scores reflecting higher levels of perfectionism. Extensive validity and reliability evidence supporting the use of Sport-MPS-2 subscales as measures of perfectionism in sport has been reported in the literature (see Dunn, Causgrove Dunn, Gotwals, Vallance, Craft, & Syrotuik, 2006; Dunn et al., 2016; Gotwals & Dunn, 2009; Gotwals, Dunn, Causgrove Dunn, & Gamache, 2010).
Perceived Social Loafing Questionnaire. The PSLQ is a 5-item unidimensional instrument that measures athletes' perceptions of the social-loafing tendencies of team members (see Hoigaard et al., 2010; Hoigaard & Ommundsen, 2007; Hoigaard, SafVenbom, et al., 2006). Respondents rate the extent to which they feel that teammates engage in social loafing (e.g., "Members of my team try to 'hide behind others 'so that they don't need to try as hard as they could') on a 5-point rating scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Higher scores indicate higher perceptions of social loafing among team members. Principal components analysis conducted upon PSLQ responses from 118 junior league (Mage = 17.7 years; SD = .98) soccer players resulted in a single-factor solution (see Hoigaard, SafVenbom, et al., 2006). Internal consistency levels (a) for the PSLQ have been consistently [greater than or equal to] .68 (see De Backer et al., 2015; Hoigaard et al., 2010; Hoigaard & Ommundsen, 2007; Hoigaard, Safvenbom, et al., 2006).
Social Loafing Acceptability Questionnaire. We were concerned that asking athletes to respond to questions directly about their own social-loafing tendencies in soccer may result in a floor effect for athlete responses and reduce response variability (cf. De Backer et al., 2015) as well as increase the potential that data may be adversely influenced by social desirability response bias (i.e., athletes may be unwilling to admit to using social-loafing strategies knowing that such behaviors would typically undermine performance and be frowned upon by coaches and teammates: see Jones, Hoigaard, & Peters, 2014). Consequently, we elected to create an indirect measure of social loafing that assessed the extent to which athletes viewed the social-loafing behaviors of other athletes as being acceptable.
The SLAQ was designed with the intention of depicting social-loafing behaviors that corresponded with two underlying reasons why athletes might socially loaf in sport: namely, to avoid blame (i.e., Blame Avoidance) and to save effort for when it most benefited the athlete (i.e., Effort Management', see Hardy, 1990; Karau & Williams, 1993). Blame avoidance was operationally defined as a deliberate decrease in effort to avoid or reduce blame for group- or personal-failure. Effort management was operationally defined as a decrease in individual effort stemming from the desire to save effort for a future task when the individual believes that he/she will receive maximum social benefit (e.g., recognition or praise) for a successful performance (at the group or individual level).
Five items/scenarios were developed around blame avoidance and five were developed around effort management. Respondents rated the extent to which they viewed fictitious athletes' social-loafing behaviors in training contexts as being acceptable. Each item/scenario was rated on a 7-point scale (1 = never acceptable; 7 = always acceptable) such that higher scores reflected higher levels of acceptance (or approval) towards other athletes' use of social-loafing behaviors in training. Female participants responded to scenarios depicting other female soccer players, whereas male participants responded to identical scenarios depicting male soccer players (e.g., "During scrimmage situations, Joe/Anna saves giving maximal effort for when he/she knows the coach is specifically watching his/her performance").
Phase 1: SLAQ scenario development. We adopted similar item construction/ evaluation procedures employed by Dunn, Bouffard, and Rogers (1999) for assessing the content relevance of the newly constructed items, whereby a panel of expert judges (n = 13) was asked to assess the content relevance of each item/scenario prior to its inclusion in the SLAQ. This phase of the test construction process was completed before the SLAQ was administered to athletes. Each judge had a PhD in the social sciences, had published in peer-reviewed sport--or exercise-psychology journals, and held a full-time academic appointment in a physical education, kinesiology, or health sciences faculty at a North American or European university.
Judges were sent a questionnaire package by email to assess the content-relevance of the items (see Dunn et al., 1999). The package contained three sections. Part A contained a short demographic questionnaire. Part B contained operational definitions for social loafing, blame avoidance, and effort management, as well as a list containing the 10 items/scenarios that were to be included in the SLAQ. Part C asked judges to rate the degree of fit (i.e., match) between each of the 10 scenarios and the two theoretical social-loafing 'constructs' the inventory was being designed to measure (i.e., blame avoidance and effort management). Ratings were made on a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (poor fit) to 5 (excellent fit). The intended construct that each scenario was designed to measure was not revealed to the judges, thereby ensuring that judges' ratings were not biased by the anticipated matches that the test developer was hoping to find (see Dunn et al., 1999).
Phase 2: Athlete data collection. Data collection sessions were independently scheduled and conducted by the principal investigator at a time/place that was convenient for each team (typically in a dressing room after a team practice) during the competitive season. Prior to completing the inventories, athletes were reminded that their participation was voluntary, their participation had no bearing on playing time, their individual information would remain anonymous and confidential, and their parents/coaches would be required to leave the room during the completion of the inventories. The presentation order of the Sport-MPS-2, PSLQ, and SLAQ was counterbalanced across participants to minimize any potential presentation order effects. Institutional research ethics clearance was obtained prior to the study, with all data collection being conducted in accordance with the ethical guidelines for human research set forth by the American Psychological Association.
Aiken's (1985) content validity coefficient (V) was computed to assess the content-relevance ratings provided by the judges for each SLAQ item/scenario on the domain/ construct that the scenario was intended to measure. Aiken's Fis bounded by values ranging from 0 to 1 (where a value of 0 indicates that all judges gave the item the lowest possible rating on the intended construct and a value of 1 indicates that all judges gave the item the highest possible rating on the intended construct). A statistically significant V coefficient indicates that the judges (as a group) rated the item as being an appropriate (i.e., relevant) measure of the domain/construct it was intended to measure. The F coefficients for each item on the keyed/intended domain are reported in Table 1 (along with abbreviated item descriptions). Each item had a statistically significant V(ps < .05) with the exception of Item 6. However, given that the mean rating for Item 6 (M = 3.46) indicated that the judges believed that the scenario provided a "good fit" with blame avoidance, the item was retained for inclusion in the SLAQ.
Of the 216 questionnaire packets that were completed by participants, there were only 18 missing data points (i.e., 0.15% missing data). Missing data were replaced using a mean item score computed from the remaining items in the matching subscale (to which the missing item belonged) for each individual (see Graham, Cumsille, & Elek-Fisk, 2003).
Pre-screening for gender differences. It was considered desirable to combine female and male responses into a single data set to maximize the statistical power of the data analyses. To ensure the appropriateness of collapsing the data into a single combined-gender data set, three separate MANOVAs were conducted for the Sport-MPS-2, PSLQ, and SLAQ responses. In each analysis, gender was entered as the independent variable and the item-sets for the three instruments--the Sport-MPS-2 (42 items), PSLQ (5 items), and SLAQ (10 items)--were entered as the dependent variables. Any significant multivariate test statistic was followed up by univariate F-tests (with Bonferroni corrections) on the dependent variables.
Each MANOVA was preceded by a Box's M test to examine the homogeneity of the covariance matrices for each instrument across gender. In accordance with the recommendations of Tabachnick and Fidell (1996), a significant Box's M statistic is indicated when p < .001. All three Box's M tests were non-significant, indicating that the covariance matrices for each instrument (at the item level) across gender were homogeneous: Sport-MPS-2, Box's M = 1375.241, F (903, 31653.868) = 1.039, p = .20; PSLQ, Box's M = 12.145, F (15, 40152.292) = .780, p = .70; SLAQ, Box's M = 88.587, F(55, 33603.945) = 1.494, p < .05. The overall multivariate tests for the MANOVAs conducted on the PSLQ (Wilks' A = .970, F [5, 210] = 1.309, p = .26) and SLAQ (Wilks' [LAMBDA] = .918, F [10, 205] = 1.821, p = .06) were not significant. In contrast, the multivariate test to identify gender differences among Sport-MPS-2 items was statistically significant (Wilks' [LAMBDA] = 0.691, F [42, 173] = 1.841, p < .01), however, follow-up univariate F-tests for all 42 items failed to reveal any significant differences (with corresponding effect sizes being small [all partial [[eta].sup.2] [less than or equal to] .04]). In light of these results, it was deemed appropriate to combine female and male responses into a single data set (N = 216) for all remaining analyses.
Psychometric evaluation of the SLAQ. Given that the SLAQ is a newly constructed instrument, it was necessary to examine the instrument's latent structure prior to creating composite subscale scores. Therefore, the matrix of inter-item correlations for the SLAQ was subjected to an exploratory Principal Axes factor analysis. The number of factors to be retained was based upon parallel analysis and scree plot results as well as factor interpretability (Gorsuch, 2003). Contrary to our expectations, parallel analysis and scree plot results both indicated the retention of a single-factor (with factor loadings ranging from .35 to .60). A unidimensional structure to the SLAQ was therefore adopted for the remainder of the study. Higher composite SLAQ scores (based on the summation of scores for all 10 items) indicated higher perceived acceptability for social-loafing behaviors in other soccer players in training/practice situations.
Descriptive statistics and internal consistencies. The means, standard deviations, and internal consistencies for all measures are presented in Table 2. The internal consistency levels of all instruments/subscales were deemed acceptable (i.e., all [alpha]s [greater than or equal to] .73).
Relationships between perfectionism and perceptions of social loafing. The purpose of this study was to determine if perfectionist orientations were related to perceptions of social loafing in youth soccer players. To this end, bivariate correlations (r) were calculated between the six Sport-MPS-2 subscales and the two social-loafing measures (i.e., PSLQ and SLAQ; see Table 2). Significant positive correlations were found between two perfectionism subscales (i.e., personal standards and doubts about actions) and PSLQ scores. In other words, as personal standards and doubts about actions increased, so too did athletes' tendency to perceive that teammates engaged in social loafing. In contrast, significant negative correlations were found between two perfectionism subscales (i.e., personal standards and organization) and perceptions of social-loafing acceptability (SLAQ). In other words, as personal standards and organization increased, the tendency of athletes to accept other players' social loafing in soccer training decreased. A significant positive correlation was also found between doubts about actions and perceptions of social-loafing acceptability (SLAQ), indicating that increases in athletes' doubts about actions were associated with increased acceptance of others' social loafing in training.
Multivariate relationships between perfectionism and perceived social loafing. The bivariate correlations provide insight into the independent relationships between sub-dimensions of perfectionism in sport and athletes' perceptions of social loafing. However, a more complete understanding of how multidimensional perfectionism is related to perceptions of social loafing may be achieved by considering the scores across all Sport-MPS-2 subscales simultaneously. This is important because, as discussed previously, different patterns or combinations of scores across various sub-dimensions of perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns have shown markedly different relationships with cognitive, affective, and behavioral responses of athletes in sport (e.g., Dunn et al., 2002; Lizmore et al., 2016). To this end, we used canonical correlation analysis (CCA) to investigate the multivariate relationship between perfectionism and athletes' perceptions of social loafing in soccer. Not only is CCA viewed as the "most appropriate and powerful multivariate technique" (Hair, Anderson, Tatham, & Black, 1998, p. 444) in situations where there are multiple independent and dependent variables (as is the case in this study), but CCA has an added benefit (over many other multivariate techniques) because it enables the researcher to consider scores across all variables simultaneously (rather than separately), thereby honoring "the ecological reality that in nature all the variables can interact with each other [at the same time]" (Thompson, 2005, p. 193). The two social-loafing scales (i.e., the PSLQ and SLAQ) were entered as the criterion set, and the six Sport-MPS-2 subscales were entered as the predictor set in the analysis.
Tabachnick and Fidell (1996) caution that univariate and multivariate outliers can "have undue impact upon canonical analysis" (p. 199). We therefore employed procedures described by Tabachnick and Fidell (pp. 66-68) to screen for univariate outliers by identifying athletes who had a standardized z-score [greater than or equal to] [absolute value of 3.30] (p < .001) on any variable. One univariate outlier was identified (on the SLAQ) and removed from the data set. Following the removal of the outlier, Mahalanobis distances were computed to screen for the presence of multivariate outliers (see Tabachnick & Fidell, 1996, p. 94). No multivariate outliers were detected (all Mahalanobis distances < 19.47 ([chi square] [.sub.critical] = 27.87, p < .001) therefore the CCA was conducted upon data provided by 215 athletes across eight variables. The participant-to-variable ratio (27:1) exceeded the minimum ratio (10:1) recommended for CCA by Tabachnick and Fidell (1996, p. 198).
The full model (across both functions) was significant (Wilks' [LAMBDA] = .802, F [12, 414] = 4.03, p < .001) and explained 19.8% of the variance in the data. Two significant canonical functions were extracted, with both canonical correlations ([R.sub.C1] = .35; [R.sub.C2] = .30,ps < .005) meeting the minimum criterion value (.30) that is typically deemed suitable for interpretation purposes (see Hair et al., 1998; Tabachnick & Fidell, 1996). Table 3 contains the canonical loadings (structure coefficients) for both functions. Only variables with loadings [greater than or equal to] [absolute value of .30] on their respective canonical variates were interpreted (see Hair et al., 1998, Tabachnick & Fidell, 1996).
In the first canonical function, perceived social loafing in teammates (PSLQ) and social-loafing acceptability (SLAQ) had moderate to strong positive loadings on the social-loafing variate. Personal standards, doubts about actions, and perceived parental pressure had moderate to strong positive loadings on the perfectionism variate. This combination of a positive loading for personal standards (i.e., a sub-dimension of perfectionistic strivings) and positive loadings for doubts about actions and perceived parental pressure (i.e., sub-dimensions of perfectionistic concerns) reflects characteristics associated with a maladaptive or unhealthy profile of perfectionism in sport (see Dunn et al., 2002; Gotwals, 2016). The positive correlation between the two variates ([R.sub.C1] = .35) indicates that as certain features of maladaptive/unhealthy perfectionism increase, there is a corresponding increase in athletes' tendencies to (a) believe that teammates engage in social loafing, and (b) be more accepting of other athletes' social-loafing behaviors in training/practice contexts.
In the second canonical fonction, perceived social loafing in teammates (PSLQ) had a moderate positive loading, and social-loafing acceptability (SLAQ) had a strong negative loading on the social-loafing variate. Personal standards and organization had moderate to strong positive loadings on the perfectionism variate, whereas perceived parental pressure and doubts about actions had moderate negative loadings on the perfectionism variate. This combination of positive loadings for personal standards and organization (i.e., sub-dimensions of perfectionistic strivings) and negative loadings for doubts about actions and perceived parental pressure (i.e., sub-dimesnions of perfectioistic concerns) reflects characteristics associated with an adaptive/healthy profile perfectionism in sport (see Dunn et al., 2002; Gotwals, 2016; Lizmore et al., 2016). The positive correlation between the two variates ([R.sub.c2] = .30) indicates that as certain features of adaptive/healthy perfectionism increase, there is a corresponding increase in athletes' tendencies to (a) believe that teammates engage in social loafing, and (b) be less accepting of other athletes' social-loafing behaviors in training contexts.
The purpose of this study was to examine relationships between athletes' perfectionist orientations and perceptions of social loafing in youth soccer. At the bivariate level (see Table 2), three perfectionism subscales (i.e., personal standards, organization, and doubts about actions) were significantly correlated with perceived social loafing in teammates (as measured by the PSLQ) and/or acceptance of social loafing (as measured by the SLAQ). When multivariate relationships were examined, canonical correlation results (see Table 3) indicated that patterns of Sport-MPS-2 subscale scores that resembled adaptive/ healthy and maladaptive/unhealthy profiles of perfectionism (see Gotwals, 2016) showed different relationships with athletes' perceptions of social loafing in soccer. Collectively, the bivariate and canonical correlation results support the need to consider dispositional (i.e., individual-difference) characteristics in the study of social loafing in group/team settings (see Haugen et al., 2016; Smrt & Karau, 2011; Swain, 1996; Tan & Tan, 2008), and indicate that perfectionism may play a role in the social-loafing process in sport (see Hoigaard et al., 2010).
At the bivariate level, the personal standards subscale of the Sport-MPS-2 was positively correlated with PSLQ scores, indicating that as athletes set higher standards of personal performance in sport they were more inclined to perceive that teammates engaged in social loafing. It is possible that higher personal standards predispose athletes to perceive more social-loafing behaviors in teammates due to the belief that their teammates strive for lower performance standards. We make this conjecture on the basis that three items contained within the personal standards subscale of the Sport-MPS-2 ask respondents to make comparisons between their own personal standards of performance in sport and the performance standards adopted by other athletes (i.e., "I think I expect higher performance and greater results in my daily sport-training than most players"; "I feel that other players generally accept lower standards for themselves in sport than I do"; and "I set higher achievement goals than most athletes who play my sport"). It therefore seems reasonable to suggest that if athletes with higher scores on the personal standards subscale feel that they have higher performance standards than other athletes in their sport, they may be more likely to interpret certain teammate actions (where effort is apparently lacking) as being indicative of social loafing (as reflected by higher PSLQ scores). Assessing the underlying reasons why athletes with higher personal standards perceive higher social loafing in their teammates would appear to be a valuable direction for future research.
The personal standards and organization subscales of the Sport-MPS-2 were both negatively correlated with the SLAQ at the bivariate level (see Table 2), indicating that as athletes set higher standards of personal performance and increase their use of pre- and within-game routines/plans to achieve desired performance levels, there was a corresponding decrease in athletes' acceptance of social loafing in training/practice situations. Given that the personal standards and organization subscales of the Sport-MPS-2 measure aspects of perfectionistic strivings in sport (Dunn et al., 2016), the negative correlations with the SLAQ appear to make theoretical sense. Heightened perfectionistic strivings reflect a heightened tendency of athletes to be motivated to achieve higher standards of personal performance in sport and to pursue these standards in an organized/planned manner (see Gotwals et al., 2010; Lizmore et al., 2016). Consequently, athletes with heightened perfectionistic strivings would be expected to view social loafing (in themselves or others) as being counter-productive to their own personal quest to achieve high (or perfect) performance in sport and therefore adopt less accepting views of such behaviors in others. This theoretical explanation is in line with previous research conducted in non-sport settings where significant negative relationships have been identified between other achievement-striving dispositions (i.e., conscientiousness and protestant work ethic) and social loafing (see Smrt & Karau 2011 * Tan & Tan, 2008).
As seen in Table 2, the doubts about actions (DAA) subscale of the Sport-MPS-2 was positively correlated with PSLQ and SLAQ scores. These positive correlations indicate that as athletes' experience higher doubts about the adequacy of their preparations for competition (see Gotwals & Dunn, 2009), there is an increased tendency to believe that teammates are engaging in social loafing (as represented by higher PSLQ scores) and to be more accepting of other athletes' social loafing in training (as represented by higher SLAQ scores). Doubts about actions (DAA) is a sub-dimension of perfectionistic concerns (see Dunn et al., 2016; Gotwals et al., 2010) and higher DAA scores typically correspond with maladaptive or dysfunctional correlates in sport (see Gotwals et al., 2012; Lizmore et al., 2016; Stoeber, 2011). This appears to be the case in this current study where higher DAA scores corresponded with a greater acceptance of other athletes' social-loafing behaviors in training. If athletes are more accepting of others' social loafing in training, they may be more inclined themselves to engage in social-loafing behaviors (in comparison to athletes who are less accepting [or more disapproving] of social loafing behaviors in the same context), thereby creating a vulnerability factor to social loafing in sport.
The bivariate correlations provide insight into the independent relationships between different aspects of perfectionism and perceptions of social loafing. However, the results of the canonical correlation analysis provide an opportunity to further examine relationships between perfectionism and perceptions of social loafing by considering scores across all sub-dimensions of perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns simultaneously (see Dunn et al., 2002, 2011; Gotwals, 2016; Gotwals et al., 2010). As noted previously, this approach has the potential benefit of providing a more ecologically valid assessment of how perfectionism may operate within athletes because all aspects of athletes' perfection-istic strivings and perfectionistic concerns coexist and presumably operate simultaneously in real-world settings.
A combination of heightened perfectionistic strivings with heightened perfectionistic concerns--as depicted in the first canonical function contained in Table 3--is typically associated with maladaptive functioning in sport (see Gotwals, 2016; Lizmore et al., 2016), whereas a combination of heightened perfectionistic strivings with lower perfectionistic concerns--as depicted in the second canonical function--is typically associated with adaptive functioning in sport (see Gotwals, 2016; Lizmore et al., 2016). Although the patterns of canonical loadings on the perfectionism variates appear to support the distinction between maladaptive and adaptive profiles of perfectionism (see Lo & Abbott, 2013), it is the associations between the perfectionism variates and the social-loafing variates that are of particular interest.
The perfectionism variate in the first canonical function that contained characteristics resembling maladaptive perfectionism (i.e., positive loadings for PS [a sub-dimension of perfectionistic strivings] and positive loadings for DAA and PPP [sub-dimensions of perfectionistic concerns]) was positively correlated ([R.sub.C1] = .35) with the social-loafing variate that contained moderate to high positive loadings for both the PSLQ and SLAQ. In other words, as maladaptive perfectionistic tendencies increased, so too did the tendency of athletes to (a) perceive higher levels of social loafing in teammates, and (b) adopt more accepting views of social loafing in training situations. In contrast, the perfectionism variate in the second canonical function that contained characteristics resembling adaptive perfectionism (i.e., positive loadings for PS and ORG [perfectionistic strivings] and negative loadings for PPP and DAA [perfectionistic concerns]) was positively correlated ([R.sub.C1] = .30) with the social-loafing variate that contained a moderate positive loading for the PSLQ but a strong negative loading for the SLAQ. These results support findings of previous research illustrating that different patterns (or combinations) of athletes' perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns (when considered simultaneously) can have unique relationships with various cognitive, affective, and/or behavioral correlates in sport (e.g., Dunn et al., 2002, 2011; Gotwals et al., 2010). The results also reinforce that perfectionism--and in particular, perfectionistic strivings--may play a 'dual role' in sport (Stoeber, 2011), at times being associated with adaptive/healthy/functional outcomes or processes and at other times being associated with maladaptive/unhealthy/dysfunctional outcomes or processes.
The personal standards subscale of the Sport-MPS-2--considered by many perfectionism theorists as a central indicator of perfectionistic strivings in sport (see Stoeber & Madigan, 2016)--had moderate to strong positive loadings on both perfectionism variates (Table 3). In other words, heightened PS scores were important in defining both adaptive and maladaptive profiles of perfectionism. When combined with heightened perfectionistic concerns (i.e., positive loadings for PPP and DAA in the first canonical function), heightened PS was associated with an increased tendency to perceive social loafing in teammates and to be more accepting of social loafing in training situations. In contrast, when combined with heightened organization (another aspect of perfectionistic strivings in sport) and lower perfectionistic concerns (i.e., negative loadings for PPP and DAA in the second canonical function), heightened PS was again associated with an increased to tendency to perceive social loafing in teammates but a less accepting view of social loafing in training. Thus, while having higher personal standards may predispose an athlete to perceive that teammates engage in social loafing--a perception that has the potential to either enhance an athlete's motivation to work harder [i.e., to make up for the teammates' lack of effort or to claim the personal benefit/credit for oneself] or cause frustration/conflict between the athlete and teammates [i.e., the social loafing is adjudged to be undermining the athlete's ability to reach his/her own high standards of personal performance]: see Jones et al. (2014)--the corresponding level of perfectionistic concerns appears to play an important role in differentiating the extent to which athletes adopt adaptive/functional (i.e., less accepting) or maladaptive/ dysfunctional (i.e., more accepting) views of social loafing in sport. The canonical results also support the views of Stoeber (2011) who has previously argued that "perfectionistic strivings may form part of a 'healthy pursuit of excellence' ... [but] this may only be the case when perfectionistic strivings are not accompanied by perfectionistic concerns" (p. 140).
Notwithstanding the valuable insight that the current results provided with respect to identifying and understanding links between athletes' perfectionist orientations and perceptions of social loafing in sport, a number of limitations within the study must be acknowledged. First, no assessment of the athletes' own self-reported use of social-loafing behaviors in sport was conducted. Therefore we cannot make any inferences about athletes' perfection ism profiles and their own social-loafing tendencies in sport. Second, all data were obtained from self-report instruments. As such, no assessment of actual social-loafing behavior (i.e., reduced effort) among participants was conducted; therefore, no inferences about the frequency or extent of social loafing in the current sample can be generated. Third, although we propose that higher levels of perceived acceptance for social loafing in training may increase the likelihood that athletes will engage in social loafing themselves, we currently have no empirical evidence to support this position. Indeed, the adaptive or maladaptive 'consequences' for athletes who perceive that teammates engage in social loafing (PSLQ scores) or who have heightened acceptance levels of social loafing (SLAQ scores) are largely unknown (and it should be noted that the average perceived acceptability rating for social loafing was quite low [M= 2.59: see Table 2], indicating that athletes were typically not accepting of such social-loafing behaviors in training contexts: cf. Jones et al., 2014). Fourth, the SLAQ is clearly in the infancy of its development and despite demonstrating adequate psychometric characteristics, more research is required to further examine the latent structure of the instrument (given that we had originally anticipated two dimensions and expert judges had identified two dimensions, yet factor analytic results supported the retention of a single-factor [unidimensional] solution).
With respect to the item content of the SLAQ, it should also be noted that athletes were asked to rate the acceptability of others' social-loafing behaviors in training/practice settings. Jones et al. (2014) have suggested that social loafing is less likely to occur in game/competition situations. Therefore, acceptability ratings may change had participants been asked to rate the acceptability of social-loafing behaviors in competition (rather than in training/practice). Clearly more research is needed to examine the impact of changing the situational context in which athletes are asked to rate the acceptability of social-loafing behaviors in sport.
Other limitations (and cautions) extend to the generalizability of our results, particularly as they relate to sample characteristics. For example, caution must be taken when generalizing to athletes who participate at different competitive levels. Research indicates that perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns tend to increase as athletes compete in higher levels of competition (see Rasquinha, Dunn, & Causgrove Dunn, 2014) whereas social loafing is believed to become less prevalent at higher levels of competition (see Hoigaard et al., 2010). Similar generalizability cautions apply to (a) the type of interactive team sport that is studied (e.g., the sport of basketball has fewer athletes competing in a smaller-sized playing area which would likely increase identifiability and decrease social loafing: see Jones et al., 2014), (b) the age of athletes in the sample (e.g., perceived parental pressure in sport is believed to play a decreasing role for athletes as they move from child hood through adolescence and into adulthood: see Dunn et al., 2016), and (c) the gender composition of the sample (i.e., research indicates that men may be more prone to social loafing than women: see Karau & Williams, 1993).
Lastly, it should be acknowledged that other measures of perfectionism in sport exist (for a recent review see Stoeber & Madigan, 2016), therefore the extent to which the current results may be unique to the specific item-content or subscale-composition of the Sport-MPS-2 remains unknown. For example, the Sport-MPS-2 does not assess Other Oriented Perfectionism (see Hewitt & Flett, 1991)--an interpersonal sub-dimension of perfectionism that focusses on the degree to which individuals expect perfection and/or high standards from other people--which might impact the perceptions that athletes hold for teammates who give reduced effort in training or competitive situations.
Despite the aforementioned limitations, the current study provides the first empirical evidence linking perfectionism and social loafing in an interactive team-sport setting, and further highlights the need for researchers to consider dispositional (or individual-difference) characteristics when studying social loafing in team settings (see Haugen et al., 2016; Hoigaard et al., 2010; Smrt & Karau, 2011; Swain, 1996; Tan & Tan, 2008). The results also have potential implications for coaches and sport psychology practitioners who work with athletes in interactive team sports. For example, practitioners may wish to design interventions (or educational mental-skills training programs) that foster or maintain perfectionistic strivings in sport while simultaneously reducing or inhibiting the development of perfection-istic concerns. A profile of high perfectionistic strivings combined with low perfectionistic concerns is most likely to be associated with adaptive functioning in sport (Gotwals, 2016; Stoeber, 2011) and could potentially reduce the likelihood of social loafing in athletes (although it should be acknowledged that enhancing or maintaining high perfectionistic strivings while reducing perfectionistic concerns may be easier said than done given the positive correlation that typically exists between perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns in sport: see Gotwals et al., 2012). Ultimately, if sport practitioners have a better understanding of variables (such as perfectionism) that may influence social loafing in sport, they have a better chance of reducing the deleterious effects that social loafing can have upon athletic performance. It is hoped that the results of this study provide a step towards the accomplishment of this goal.
This research was funded by a grant from the Sport Science Association of Alberta, and was conducted when the first author (Matthew Vaartstra) was a graduate student at the University of Alberta.
University of Idaho
John G.H. Dunn and Janice Causgrove Dunn
University of Alberta, Canada
Address correspondence to: Dr. John Dunn, Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, 3-100 University Hall, Van Vliet Complex, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6G 2H9. (Phone: 780-492-2831) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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(1) The current sample formed a sub-sample of athletes (N= 1605) in a study conducted by Dunn et al. (2016). The perfectionism data reported in this study were used by Dunn et al. (2016) for the sole purpose of examining the higher-order latent dimensionality of a perfectionism measure. None of the perceived social loafing data reported in this study have been reported in any other publication.
Table 1 Aiken's V, Means, and Standard Deviations for Judges' Content-Relavance Ratings of Social Loafing (Blame Avoidance and Effort Management) Scenarios Abbreviated item descriptions V p 1. Kim saves giving maximal .808 < .01 effort for when she sprints against one player believing that the winners of the one-on-one sprints receive the most recognition from the coach following each race. 2. Whenever Rob is on the .692 < .05 captain's team at practice and it appears that his team will lose the scrimmage, Rob makes less of an effort to get actively involved in the play believing that this will decrease the likelihood of drawing the captain's attention. 3. Jan tends to save .981 < .01 giving maximal effort during practice for offensive situations rather than defensive situations. 4. Tim saves giving maximal .885 < .01 effort in practice until he knows his parents will be watching him. 5. When the players are .788 < .01 lining up to start the drill Bob allows his teammates to go first because he does not want to risk being the player who messes up the drill 6. Tom decides to hold back .615 ms from aggressively seeking out the ball during practice scrimmages to decrease the likelihood of drawing the coach's attention to his play. 7. Therefore, .942 < .01 during practice, Jon saves a little effort during offensive situations so that he can give maximal effort during defensive situations. 8. Although Pam and one of .827 < .01 her teammates have an equal opportunity to score, to avoid the risk of missing the shot that may cause the team to run the wind-sprints, Pam backs off to allow her teammate to take the final shot. 9. During scrimmage .942 < .01 situations, Joe saves giving maximal effort for when he knows the coach is specifically watching his performance. 10. Amy attempts to avoid .769 < .01 taking this role in the drill because she does not want to be responsible for causing the drill to fail. Judges' ratings Blame Effort Avoidance Management Abbreviated item descriptions M SD M SD 1. Kim saves giving maximal 1.23 0.44 4.23# 1.17 effort for when she sprints against one player believing that the winners of the one-on-one sprints receive the most recognition from the coach following each race. 2. Whenever Rob is on the 3.77# 1.24 1.31 0.63 captain's team at practice and it appears that his team will lose the scrimmage, Rob makes less of an effort to get actively involved in the play believing that this will decrease the likelihood of drawing the captain's attention. 3. Jan tends to save 1.00 0.00 4.92$ 0.28 giving maximal effort during practice for offensive situations rather than defensive situations. 4. Tim saves giving maximal 1.08 0.28 4.54# 0.52 effort in practice until he knows his parents will be watching him. 5. When the players are 4.15# 1.14 1.38 0.51 lining up to start the drill Bob allows his teammates to go first because he does not want to risk being the player who messes up the drill 6. Tom decides to hold back 3.46# 1.39 1.85 0.99 from aggressively seeking out the ball during practice scrimmages to decrease the likelihood of drawing the coach's attention to his play. 7. Therefore, 1.00 0.00 4.77# 0.44 during practice, Jon saves a little effort during offensive situations so that he can give maximal effort during defensive situations. 8. Although Pam and one of 4.31# 1.03 1.15 0.38 her teammates have an equal opportunity to score, to avoid the risk of missing the shot that may cause the team to run the wind-sprints, Pam backs off to allow her teammate to take the final shot. 9. During scrimmage 1.15 0.38 4.77# 0.44 situations, Joe saves giving maximal effort for when he knows the coach is specifically watching his performance. 10. Amy attempts to avoid 4.08# 1.12 1.15 0.38 taking this role in the drill because she does not want to be responsible for causing the drill to fail. Note. The mean rating on the intended domain for each item has been highlighted in bold. Note. The mean rating on the intended domain for each item are indicated with #. Table 2 Subscale Means, Standard Deviations, Internal Consistencies ([alpha]) and Bivariate Correlations (r) Perfectionism (a) PS COM M SD M SD Subscales 3.76 .65 3.17 .80 PS [alpha] = .79 COM .35 *** [alpha] = .83 PPP .15 * .47 *** PCP .15 * .42 *** DAA .08 .30 *** ORG .40 *** .12 PSLQ .23 ** .06 SLAQ -.15 * .03 Perfectionism (a) PPP PCP M SD M SD Subscales 2.92 .90 3.24 .75 PS COM PPP [alpha] = .90 PCP .30 *** [alpha] = .78 DAA .26 *** .29 *** ORG .11 .11 PSLQ .07 .04 SLAQ .11 .04 Perfectionism (a) DAA ORG M SD M SD Subscales 2.62 .68 3.48 .82 PS COM PPP PCP DAA [alpha] = .73 ORG -0.4 [alpha] = .87 PSLQ .25*** .08 SLAQ .21 ** -.19 ** Social Loafing (b) PSLQ SLAQ M SD M SD Subscales 2.34 .76 2.59 .76 PS COM PPP PCP DAA ORG PSLQ [alpha] = .80 SLAQ .11 [alpha] = .75 Note. Internal consistency values are contained in the main diagonal, and bivariate correlations are contained in the lower-triangular matrix of the table. Subscale abbreviations: PS = personal standards; COM = concern over mistakes; PPP = perceived parental pressure; PCP = perceived coach pressure; DAA = doubts about actions; ORG = organization; PSLQ = perceived social loafing questionnaire; SLAQ = social loafing acceptability questionnaire. (a) Items were measured on a 5-point response scale. (b) Items were measured on 7-point response scales. * p <.05. ** p <.01. *** p <.001. Table 3 Canonical Loadings (Structure Coefficients) for Perfectionism and Social Loafing Variables Canonical Loadings Variable Function 1 Function 2 Social Loafing Perceived social loafing questionare .95# .32# Social loafing acceptability questionnare .42# -.91# Perfectionism Personal standards .48# .76# Concern over mistakes .21 -.08 Perceived parental pressure .31 -.31# Perceived coach pressure .16 -.11 Doubts about actions .87# -.37# Organization .07 .62# Note. Canonical loadings [greater than or equal to] [absolute value of .30] are considered meaningful and highlighted in bold. Note. Canonical loadings [greater than or equal to] [absolute value of .30] are considered meaningful are indicated with #.
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|Author:||Vaartstra, Matthew; Dunn, John G.H.; Dunn, Janice Causgrove|
|Publication:||Journal of Sport Behavior|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2018|
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