Perfectionism is often associated with the positive characteristics of motivation, effort and achievement. However, perfectionism encouraged by the views of others may result in increased levels of anxiety and ultimately lead to inferior academic performances of undergraduate university students. The aim of the study is to examine whether, and if so, to what extent perfectionism is related to academic motivation and performance anxiety in BA (Music) and BMus students. A total of 93 music students from four South African universities’ music departments participated in the study. Significant correlations between perfectionism, academic motivation and performance anxiety within the sample are explored. Additionally, the perfectionism, motivation and anxiety levels of the students are compared according to confounding variables such as the academic institution, type of music degree, academic year, gender, home language and first instrument. The study follows a quantitative survey design consisting of the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (MPS), the Work Preference Inventory (WPI) and the Performance Anxiety Inventory-Revised (PAI-R).
Strong positive correlations were found between the Concern over Mistakes subscale of perfectionism and the Extrinsic Motivation: Outward dimension. The Personal Standards subscale of perfectionism showed moderate to strong correlations to the Intrinsic Motivation: Challenge and Extrinsic Motivation: Compensation dimensions. The BA (Music) students scored significantly higher than the BMus students in Performance Anxiety, Parental Expectations and Parental Criticism. Students from the Other language (African language) group scored significantly higher in both the perfectionism subscales of Parental Expectations and Parental Criticism.
The study provides valuable insight into the perfectionistic trends and its effect on motivational orientations in South African undergraduate music students, particularly the differences between the BA (Music) and BMus degrees, which have not yet been investigated. The study verifies various inter-correlations between aspects of perfectionism and motivation with specific emphasis on the parental dimensions of perfectionism.
Dissertation (MMus)--University of Pretoria, 2015.