restricted access Adaptive and Maladaptive Aspects of Self-Oriented versus Socially Prescribed Perfectionism
Abstract

The purpose of the current study was to examine the extent to which self-oriented versus socially prescribed perfectionism can be differentiated by their correlations with adaptive versus maladaptive constructs (i.e., self-esteem, perceived self-control, achievement motivation, depression, anxiety, suicidal proneness, shame, guilt, and procrastination). Theoretically, socially prescribed perfectionism was expected to be exclusively maladaptive whereas self-oriented perfectionism was expected to have both maladaptive and adaptive characteristics. Participants (n = 475) came from a southeastern university (mean age of 20.9 years, 68% Caucasians). Results indicated that the two types of perfectionism had significantly different correlations with self-esteem, perceived self-control, achievement motivation, depression, anxiety, suicidal proneness, shame, guilt, and procrastination. Generally, socially prescribed perfectionism had stronger associations with maladaptive constructs than did self-oriented perfectionism. In contrast to the assertion that self-oriented perfectionism is exclusively a vulnerability factor (Benson, 2003), and as hypothesized, results indicated that high self-oriented perfectionism in the absence of socially prescribed perfectionism is adaptive. The clinical implications of these findings are discussed.


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