Obsessive Passion

Obsessive passion can have a negative result for the overall athlete. They burn-out quicker and have more stress when participating. “Athletes with an obsessive passion scored higher on a burnout inventory than did harmoniously passionate athletes. Obsessively passionate athletes also scored higher on perceived stress and negative effect, and lower on positive affect. These findings support the assumption that even though the two forms of passion may be an integral part of elite sports, athletes scoring high on obsessive passion may be at greater risk of developing burnout than more harmoniously passionate athletes. Burning bright and burning out can thus be seen as two potential consequences for athletes driven by passion. Athletes and coaches who are aware of this may be better equipped to avoid the potential negative consequences associated with too much stress and too little recovery” (Gustafsson, Hassmén, & Hassmén, 2011).

I am glad have found answers about this because of my own obsessive passion that I need to turn into harmonious passion for Yoga and Wellness. I do not want to get stressed or burnt-out, so I have to keep my motivations in check.

The article, Is It In You?, studied obsessive vs. harmonious passion and found I think the same as the first article. The last sentence in this quote seems double negative to make the obsessive passion not seem so bad, but I can’t tell, what do you think? “Within the highly competitive leagues, athletes with obsessive passion exhibited higher levels of psychological adjustment (related to depressive symptoms, affective states, and life satisfaction) than did athletes displaying harmonious passion. In contrast, and within the less-competitive leagues, harmoniously passionate athletes displayed higher levels of psychological adjustment in comparison to obsessively passionate athletes. The results not only emphasize the importance of prospective research but also suggest that under some conditions obsessive passion may not invariably lead to negative outcomes and harmonious passion to positive consequences.”

I think the signs are depression or burn-out. Just not being the usual self that is observed on most days.

With some personalities and Type A may be willing to push themselves past injury so then it becomes an ailment and eventually chronic pain and/or disease.

Obsessive Passion & Harmonious Passion: Where’s the Balance? – What Drives a Person – Nature/Nurture, play together. Behavior is in the DNA, and if negative behavior is observed and not altered it becomes learned and maybe even reinforced behavior as well.


Gustafsson, H., Hassmén, P., & Hassmén, N. (2011). Are athletes burning out with passion?. European Journal Of Sport Science, 11(6), 387-395.

Is It in You? Harmonious and Obsessive Passion in Team Sports. (2006). Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 28(3), 413.

Amiot, C.E., Vallerand, R.J., & Blanchard, C.M. (2006). Passion and psychological adjustment: A test of the person-environment fit hypothesis. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32,220-229.