Thinking (and Thinking…) About Perfection: A Test of the Perfectionism Cognitions Theory
Janssen, William F.
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The current body of work examined the link between perfectionism cognitions and depressive symptoms and, importantly, tested a central mechanism by which rumination acts as an intervening pathway in this relationship. These relationships form the underlying framework of the Perfectionism Cognitions Theory (Flett et al., 2016), which, to date, had not been empirically tested. The current body of work consisted of two separate studies. Study 1 used a community sample of adults (N = 175, 53.3% men, Mage = 28.3 years old). Results of structural equation modeling in Study 1 offered support for the Perfectionism Cognitions Theory. It was found that rumination represented an indirect pathway explaining the relationship between perfectionism cognitions and depressive symptoms. Study 2 used a sample of emerging adult students (N = 53, 84.9% women, Mage = 19.9 years old) to test the Perfectionism Cognitions Theory. Study 2 also closely examined the link between perfectionism cognitions and cognitive flexibility, a behavioural index of rumination that was measured by performance on a set-shifting task. Results of a test of indirect effects in Study 2 replicated the findings of Study 1 by supporting the Perfectionism Cognitions Theory and showing evidence that rumination represents a mechanism by which perfectionism cognitions are related to poorer well-being. Results of regression analysis did not show a link between perfectionism cognitions and set-shifting, but perfectionism cognitions were related to self-reported cognitive flexibility. Together, the findings support Flett et al.’s (2016) Perfectionism Cognition Theory and have important implications for research and practice.