A study investigating how perfectionistic tendencies in freelance, professional ballet dancers influences their experience of flow / Carey Hemsley (2017)

A study investigating how perfectionistic tendencies in freelance, professional ballet dancers influences their experience of flow

Author: Carey Hemsley

Course: MSc Dance Science

Year: 2017

Keywords: Dance Professionals, Dance Science, Dance training, Dance--Psychological aspects, Flow research, Perfectionism,

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a correlational relationship exists between dancers demonstrating perfectionistic tendencies and experiential flow. This perfectionism/flow paradox has been largely overlooked in dance science literature, and this is compounded by a paucity of research on experiential flow in dance. A review of literature demonstrated traction to the perfectionist/flow paradox, with evidence proving that perfectionism is prevalent in!dance, and that dancers are particularly vulnerable to manifesting perfectionistic concerns. Dance is a fruitful domain for studying flow, and dancers can be particularly prone to the flow state owing to domain-specific facilitating factors. Researchers have evidenced that flow can be negatively affected by poor self-concept, anxiety, negative self-talk and self-evaluation. This suggests that perfectionism could inhibit flow state at a neurocognitive level.

A sample of 42 freelance professional dancers were assessed using two well-tested, standardised self-reporting instruments for measuring multidimensional perfectionistic tendencies and dispositional flow. Three participants demonstrating differing perfectionist/flow profiles were then interviewed so to further probe the perfectionism/flow paradox.

This sample demonstrated a prevalence for self-evaluative perfectionistic tendency with specific concerns for perceived teacher pressures and need for approval, and, strivings for planfulness. A great range in global flow sum scores (59 to 147) was measured. Highest scoring dimension of flow was autotelic experience. Results from Spearman-rho correlational testing provided empirical evidence that P.I dimensions describing perfectionistic concerns correlated to both strong and moderate negative scorings on six flow dimensions (-0.364 to -0.459). Correlations between dimensions describing perfectionistic strivings were less clear cut, demonstrating weak and statistically insignificant (and sometimes negative) correlations to flow dimensions.

Findings have substantiated this study’s hypothesis that perfectionistic tendencies (concerns) effect the experience of flow. Such empirical evidence brings unique benefits to existing literature in the plotting of a previously overlooked relationship. This study states a compelling case for further research in how to mediate the perfectionism/flow paradox so that both a dancer’s performance and psychological well-being are enhanced.

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APA
Hemsley, Carey. (2017). A study investigating how perfectionistic tendencies in freelance, professional ballet dancers influences their experience of flow (Masters’ theses). Retrieved https://researchonline.trinitylaban.ac.uk/oa/thesis/?p=188