ساخت درجه: عواقب رفتاری کمال گرایی در کلاس درس
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|32595||2003||16 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||7494 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 35, Issue 1, July 2003, Pages 163–178
The objective of this study was to examine the behavioural correlates of perfectionism in a real world achievement task and to assess whether perfectionism is associated with self regulation strategies, attributions, and behaviour that is self-defeating. We also examined the predictive validity of the distinction between adaptive and maladaptive perfectionism on our dependent measures. A total of 198 students completed questionnaires about perfectionism, their standards, attributions, and behaviours at two time points; one week before their mid-term exam, and one week after receiving their grades. Data were analyzed with a combination of correlational and between group statistics. Overall, individuals high in perfectionism set a higher standard for the exam, were more likely to fall short of their goals, and experienced more negative affect about the exam, whether they had met their goal or not. There were some important differences between adaptive and maladaptive perfectionism; adaptive perfectionism was associated with fewer negative consequences for this achievement situation. Over time, the behaviours and cognitive-emotional responses related to perfectionism could lead to significant distress and this research suggests an important potential pathway from perfectionism to psychopathology.
Theoretical and research interest in the personality construct of perfectionism has grown markedly over the last decade (see Blatt, 1995 for a review) and there has been a particular focus on the negative correlates of perfectionism, including concurrent psychopathology (Antony et al., 1998, Hewitt & Flett, 1991a, Hewitt & Flett, 1991b, Hewitt & Flett, 1993, Hewitt et al., 1996 and Hewitt et al., 1991). Generally, perfectionism has been defined as holding standards that are beyond reach or rationality, straining to reach those impossible goals, and defining one's worth by the accomplishment of those standards (Pacht, 1984). Pervasive self-defeating elements of perfectionism have been described in clinical writing, and links between perfectionism and a chronic sense of failure, indecisiveness, procrastination, and shame have been described (Burns, 1980, Hamachek, 1978, Hollender, 1965 and Pacht, 1984). However, few studies have directly examined the potentially damaging impact of perfectionism on behaviour, emotions, or cognitions in real life situations such as work or school contexts. Most initial investigations of perfectionism sought to define and assess perfectionism in an objective manner (e.g. Hewitt & Flett, 1991a, Hewitt & Flett, 1991b and Frost et al., 1990). These efforts led to the development of two validated and frequently used measures of perfectionism. Both scales are termed “Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale” and were created by separate teams of researchers. The first measure, created by Hewitt and his colleagues, was developed from the perspective that perfectionism is a multidimensional construct that has both intrapersonal and interpersonal meaning (HMPS; Hewitt & Flett, 1991a). Intrapersonal perfectionism, called “self oriented perfectionism” refers to the setting of excessive and stringent standards and critically evaluating one's behaviour, whereas interpersonal perfectionism is comprised of “other oriented perfectionism” (expectations of perfection that one has for others) and “socially prescribed perfectionism” (a perception that other people expect one to be perfect). Frost argues that a key component of perfectionism, aside from the setting of stringent standards, is a proclivity to evaluate one's behaviour critically. Frost's measure (FMPS; Frost et al., 1990) reflects this view, and includes not only an assessment of high personal standards and a tendency to be perfectly organized, but also concern about mistakes and doubts about one's action in situations. The measure also assesses the theorized root of perfectionism, high parental expectations and parental criticism. A growing body of correlational research demonstrates that both of these perfectionism scales are associated with a range of variables related to anxiety difficulties, eating disorders, and depression (Antony et al., 1998, Frost et al., 1993, Frost & Steketee, 1997, Juster et al., 1996 and Purdon et al., 1999). However, few studies have focused on the mechanism(s) by which perfectionism is linked to psychological distress. Previous research suggests that perfectionism leads to distress by impacting on self-regulation strategies (Alden, Bieling, & Wallace, 1994). Specifically, a perfectionistic style may lead to setting excessively high standards, seeing oneself as falling short of such standards, and/or excessive monitoring or scrutiny of one's performances (Alden et al., 1994). Clinical research also suggests a number of behavioural and cognitive pathways between perfectionism and self-defeating consequences in clinical settings. Some authors suggest that perfectionism contributes to a self-critical orientation that in turn leads to chronic negative emotionality, and possibly suicidal ideation for some individuals (Blatt, 1995 and Burns, 1980). Others suggest that perfectionism is associated with behaviours such as lack of persistence and avoidance or excessive checking and behaviours aimed at precision or order (Frost et al., 1990, Hewitt & Flett, 1991a and Hewitt & Flett, 1991b). At least one study examining the self-regulation strategies of perfectionistic college students in a social situation suggests that perfectionism (measured by the Hewitt Perfectionism Scale) is associated with setting a higher objective standard for a conversation and evaluating one's performance more frequently in the interaction (Alden et al., 1994). Similarly, perfectionism measured by the Hewitt Perfectionism Scale in socially phobic patients is related to setting higher standards of performance prior to a conversation (Bieling & Alden, 1997). These findings reveal that perfectionists set difficult to obtain goals for themselves. In addition, perfectionistic college students ruminate more about mistakes they make, experience more distress when completing an evaluative task, and perform at a lower level on a laboratory-based writing task than non-perfectionistic individuals (Frost & Marten, 1990 and Frost et al., 1997). While these findings suggest that perfectionism is related to self-defeating behavioural and self-regulation strategies, few studies have examined how perfectionism influences individuals in real world, achievement situations. In this study, we evaluated the impact of perfectionism on an achievement task, a college course mid-term exam. Consistent with previous work on a self-regulation approach to perfectionism (Alden et al., 1994), we were interested in the goals or standards that students set, their actual performance on the achievement task, and the impact of either meeting or not meeting their goals in the task on setting future standards. One other previous study has examined the role of perfectionism on performance in a college course (Brown, Heimberg, Frost, Makris, Juster, & Leung, 1999). In this study, which followed 90 students over a semester long course, various subscales of the Frost Perfectionism Scales were associated with more frequent studying, seeing the course as being more important, higher standards for performance, receiving better grades, perceiving the course as more difficult, and experiencing more negative affect around examinations (Brown et al., 1999). However, this study did not examine the impact of performance on subsequent standards that students set for themselves. This is important because perfectionism is purportedly associated with setting high, rigid goals that may not be amenable to feedback. Indeed, it is this discrepancy between goals and performance that seems to be associated with negative emotional states in perfectionism (Alden et al., 1994). An additional conceptual issue in the measurement of perfectionism and its correlates is the issue of adaptive vs. maladaptive perfectionism, and to our knowledge this has not yet been studied in an achievement context. Theorists and researchers have recently begun to distinguish between maladaptive and adaptive perfectionism (Enns & Cox, 1999, Frost et al., 1993 and Hill et al., 1997); it has been argued that setting high standards and striving for success might have positive implications for the individual, and are examples of adaptive or “healthy” perfectionism. On the other hand, excessive rigidity in expectations, feeling compelled to reach for goals, and concern over errors have been described as examples of maladaptive or “unhealthy” perfectionism. Indeed, one of the first factor analyses of the two most frequently used perfectionism scales in a large nonclinical sample supported the notion of separate adaptive and maladaptive forms of perfectionism (Frost et al., 1993). Frost and his colleagues identified two distinct factors in the pooled FMPS and HMPS subscales, the first consisting of the subscales concern over mistakes, parental criticism, parental expectations and doubt about actions from the FMPS and socially prescribed perfectionism from the HMPS. This factor was “Maladaptive Evaluation Concerns” and can be construed as a maladaptive form of perfectionism. The second factor consisted of items from Personal Standards and Organization scales of the FMPS, plus the self-oriented and other-oriented perfectionism subscales from the HMPS. The authors labeled the second factor “Positive Strivings” and found that its pattern of association with other measures suggested that this was a form of adaptive perfectionism. Other psychometric studies also suggest that a distinction between adaptive and maladaptive perfectionism is warranted. For example, Stumpf and Parker (2000) found evidence for two higher order perfectionism factors on the FMPS, termed “healthy and unhealthy perfectionism”, in a large sample of sixth graders (Stumpf & Parker, 2000). Similarly, a factor analysis of three perfectionism scales in college students suggested that one factor, termed “maladaptive perfectionism”, predicted variables such as anxiety and psychological distress (Suddarth & Slaney, 2001). Despite this evidence from factor analytic studies, the extent to which either of these forms of perfectionism is associated with setting of actual standards, and emotional reactions to performance feedback is unknown. Such differences could be important not only pragmatically, but have conceptual implications for the definition and measurement of perfectionism. The present study examined the impact of perfectionism on potentially dysfunctional behavioural and cognitive/emotional variables relevant to an achievement task. Taking into account past research on self-regulation, the present study included measures of standards that students set for a mid-term examination, as well as standards that students set for the next exam knowing their grade on the first. Thus, we were able to examine whether performance would alter the standards that perfectionists set. Most importantly, we specifically examined whether perfectionists were able to attain their goals, or whether there were discrepancies between their goals and their performance. Not being able to attain one's goals, especially over the long run, has been described as critical in generating self-criticism and negative affect (Alden et al., 1994 and Blatt, 1995). Also, based on the work of Brown et al. (1999), we assessed negative affect related to grades, and included measures of attributions for exam performance. Conceptually, such measures are important because negative affect related to testing situations could ultimately impact more global adjustment. Attributions about performance have also been shown to have consequences for psychological adjustment in a variety of contexts (Stoltz & Galassi, 1989). For example, internal attributions for failure in a classroom context appear to be more damaging to self-esteem than external attributions (Metalsky, Abramson, Seligman, Semmel, & Peterson, 1982) and this cognitive style has recently been linked to risk for depression (Alloy et al., 2000). We also assessed actual exam performance and asked students questions about the length of time they were planning to spend studying. Finally, given that perfectionism may consist of adaptive and maladaptive forms, we examined whether the different types of perfectionism had differential implications for our dependent measures. Based on previous research, we predicted that perfectionism would be associated with setting a higher standard for a mid-term exam. Given divergent findings on the issue of performance, we did not make a specific prediction on whether perfectionism would be associated with performance increments or decrements. We did predict that individuals high in perfectionism would be less likely to attain their goals on the mid-term, and would be likely to report more studying behaviour. We also predicted that perfectionism would be associated with more negative affect about the exam and more internal attributions about performance. Moreover, we predicted that this response would be particularly pernicious in those perfectionists who had failed to attain their goals. In other words, we hypothesized that there would be an interaction between not meeting goals and the effects of perfectionism on negative emotions and attributions about performance. Because of the paucity of empirical studies using the maladaptive/adaptive perfectionism distinction as a predictor of behaviour we regarded our hypotheses about this distinction as somewhat more speculative. Nonetheless, given the previously described association between maladaptive perfectionism and psychological distress, we predicted that maladaptive perfectionism would be associated with more negative affect about the exam, and more internal attributions about exam performance. Given the content of adaptive perfectionism, we predicted that this aspect of perfectionism would be associated with higher standards and better exam performance.