Athletic Insight - The Online Journal of Sport Psychology

The Role of Perfectionism and Self-Presentation
Processes in Exercise

Jay-Lee Longbottom
The University of Western Australia


Kristin P. Beals
California State University Banner


The current study examined the role played by self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism in the context of exercise behavior and how factors such as self-presentation affect the frequency of exercise activity in people with varying degrees of perfectionism. Regression analyses revealed self-oriented perfectionism as a moderator in the relationship between self-presentation and exercise behavior. That is, the desire one has for appearing toned and fit to others influenced exercise differently depending on the degree to which people demand perfection from one’s self. Specifically, individuals who were strongly motivated to present themselves as an exerciser and who demanded perfectionism from the self were found to engage in physical activity more frequently than did those who rated high on self-presentation in exercise but demanded less perfection from the self. The results of the study clarify the characteristics of regular exercisers and further the understanding of the role perfectionism plays in exercise behavior in the general population.

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