Advertisement

Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 277–283 | Cite as

Perfectionistic Thoughts, Personal Standards, and Evaluative Concerns: Further Investigating Relationships to Psychological Distress

  • Tessa E. Wimberley
  • Michael J. Stasio
Original Article

Abstract

This study investigated relationships between perfectionism and psychological distress in a sample of first year college students further divided between those who were enrolled in an honors curriculum (n = 60) and those who were not (n = 53). Participants completed the Perfectionism Cognitions Inventory (PCI), the Frost Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (MPS), and the profile of mood states (POMS) at the start of the semester and then again 6 weeks later. Results revealed that one dimension of the MPS—maladaptive evaluative concerns (EC)—was positively associated with tension-anxiety and depression-dejection scores, while a second factor—pure personal standards (PS)—was negatively related to distress after extraneous variance was removed. Perfectionism cognitions as measured by the PCI either fully or partially mediated most relationships. Honors students reported higher personal standards than did controls, a difference that was consistent at 6-week follow-up.

Keywords

Perfectionism Perfectionism cognitions Honors students College adjustment 

References

  1. Barry, E. S., Naus, M. J., & Rehm, L. P. (2006). Depression, implicit memory, and self: A revised memory model of emotion. Clinical Psychology Review, 26, 719–745.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chang, E. C., & Rand, K. L. (2000). Perfectionism as a predictor of subsequent adjustment: Evidence for a specific diathesis-stress mechanism among college students. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 47, 129–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chang, E. C., Sanna, L. J., Chang, R., & Bodem, M. R. (2008). A Preliminary look at loneliness as a moderator of the link between perfectionism and depressive and anxious symptoms in college students: Does being lonely make perfectionistic strivings more distressing? Behaviour Research and Therapy, 46, 877–886.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. DiBartolo, P. M., Frost, R. O., Chang, P., LaSota, M., & Grills, A. E. (2004). Shedding light on the relationship between personal standards and psychopathology: The case for contingent self-worth. Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive Behavior Therapy, 22, 241–254.Google Scholar
  5. DiBartolo, P. M., Li, C. Y., & Frost, R. O. (2008). How do the dimensions of perfectionism relate to mental health? Cognitive Therapy and Research, 32, 401–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dunkley, D. M., Blankstein, K. R., Masheb, R. M., & Grilo, C. M. (2006). Personal standards and evaluative concerns dimensions of “clinical” perfection: A reply to Shafran et al. (2002, 2003) and Hewitt et al. (2003). Behavior Research and Therapy, 44, 63–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Enns, M. W., & Cox, B. J. (2005). Perfectionism, stressful life events, and the 1-year outcome of depression. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 29, 541–553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Flett, G. L., Hewitt, P. L., Blankstein, K. R., & Gray, L. (1998). Psychological distress and the frequency of perfectionistic thinking. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 1363–1381.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Flett, G. L., Hewitt, P. L., Whelan, T., & Martin, T. R. (2007). The perfectionism cognitions inventory: Psychometric properties and associations with distress and deficits in cognitive self-management. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 25, 255–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Flett, G. L., Madorsky, D., Hewitt, P. L., & Heisel, M. J. (2002). Perfectionism cognitions, rumination, and psychological distress. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 20, 33–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Frost, R. O., Heimberg, R. G., Holt, C. S., Mattia, J. I., & Neubauer, A. L. (1993). A comparison of two measures of perfectionism. Personality and Individual Differences, 14, 119–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Frost, R. O., Marten, P., Lahart, C., & Rosenblate, R. (1990). The dimensions of perfectionism. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 14, 449–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hewitt, P. L., & Flett, G. L. (1991). Perfectionism in the self and social contexts: Conceptualization, assessment, and association with psychopathology. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60, 456–470.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hewitt, P. L., & Flett, G. L. (1993). Dimensions of perfectionism, daily stress, and depression: A test of the specific vulnerability hypothesis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 102, 58–65.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hewitt, P. L., Flett, G. L., & Ediger, E. (1996). Perfectionism and depression: Longitudinal assessment of a specific vulnerability hypothesis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 105, 276–280.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hewitt, P. L., Flett, G. L., Norton, G. R., & Flynn, C. (1998). Dimensions of perfectionism and chronic symptoms of unipolar and bipolar depression. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 30, 234–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hewitt, P. L., & Genest, M. (1990). The ideal-self: Schematic processing of perfectionistic content in dysphoric university students. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 802–808.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Keith, T. Z. (2005). Multiple regression and beyond. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  19. Lynd-Stevenson, R. M., & Hearne, C. M. (1999). Perfectionism and depressive affect: The pros and cons of being a perfectionist. Personality and Individual Differences, 26, 549–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. McNair, D. M., Lorr, M., & Droppleman, L. F. (1971). Manual for the profile of mood states. San Diego, CA: Educational and Industrial Testing Services.Google Scholar
  21. Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods, 40, 879–891.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Pryor, J. H., Hurtado, S., DeAngelo, L., Palucki, B. L., & Tran, S. (2010). The American freshman: National norms fall 2010. Los Angeles: Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA.Google Scholar
  23. Rice, K. G., Ashby, J. S., & Slaney, R. B. (1998). Self-esteem as a mediator between perfectionism and depression: A structural equation analysis. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 45, 304–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Rice, K. G., Leever, B. A., Christopher, J., & Porter, D. (2006). Perfectionism, stress, and social (dis)connection: A short-term study of hopelessness, depression, and academic adjustment among honors students. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 53(4), 524–534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Shafran, R., Cooper, Z., & Fairburn, C. G. (2002). Clinical perfectionism: A cognitive behavioural analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 40, 773–791.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Slaney, R. B., Ashby, J. S., & Trippi, J. (1995). Perfectionism: Its measurement and career relevance. Journal of Career Assessment, 3, 279–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Slaney, R. B., Rice, K. G., Mobley, M., Trippi, J., & Ashby, J. S. (2001). The Revised Almost Perfect Scale. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 34, 130–145.Google Scholar
  28. Stoeber, J., Kobori, O., & Tanno, Y. (2010). The Multidimensional Perfectionism Cognitions Inventory-English (MPCI-E): Reliability, validity, and relationships with positive and negative affect. Journal of Personality Assessment, 92(1), 16–25.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CSSME/Psychology/Box QThe University of TampaTampaUSA

Personalised recommendations