Perfectionism, Distress, and Irrational Beliefs in High School Students: Analyses with an Abbreviated Survey of Personal Beliefs for Adolescents

  • Gordon L. Flett
  • Paul L. Hewitt
  • Wing Man Winnie Cheng
Original Article


The current study examined the associations between dimensions of perfectionism and irrational beliefs in an adolescent sample. In addition, we tested the association between psychological distress and irrational beliefs in adolescents and we evaluated the feasibility of creating a modified version of the Survey of Personal Beliefs for use with adolescents. A sample of 250 adolescents (108 males, 142 females) completed the Child-Adolescent Perfectionism Scale, the Survey of Personal Beliefs, and the CES-D Depression Scale. Initial psychometric analyses yielded an abbreviated 30-item Survey of Personal Beliefs with adequate internal consistency for four of the five subscales. Our results showed that self-oriented perfectionism was associated significantly with all five irrational belief subscales, while the associations between socially prescribed perfectionism and irrational belief subscales were much smaller in magnitude. Self-oriented perfectionism, socially prescribed perfectionism, and irrational beliefs were all associated significantly with elevated distress among adolescents, and irrational beliefs predicted unique variance in distress, over and above the variance attributable to the trait perfectionism dimensions. The findings confirmed the association between perfectionism and irrational beliefs and their respective roles in psychological distress among adolescents.


Perfectionism Irrational beliefs Depression Adolescents 



This research was supported, in part, by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada awarded to the authors. Gordon Flett was supported by a Canada Research Chair in Personality and Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon L. Flett
    • 1
  • Paul L. Hewitt
    • 2
  • Wing Man Winnie Cheng
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYork UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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