• The light and dark sides of perfectionism : implications for health and well-being

      Sirianni Molnar, Danielle; Department of Psychology (Brock University, 2011-10-14)
      The present work presents two studies that examined the association of perfectionism, operationally defined by Hewi t t and Fl e t t ' s (1991) multidimensional mode l of perfectionism, with health and subjective well-being (SWB). The underlying question of this research was whether perfectionism could be beneficial as well as detrimental to health and well-being, as this is one of the mos t highly debated questions in the current literature. In samples of relatively healthy university students (n = 538) and community adults suffering from various chronic illnesses (n = 772), results from Study One indicated that socially prescribed perfectionism (SPP) is directly associated wi th poor e r he a l th and well-being. Results further showed f rom a personcentered perspective that there is a l a rge group of individuals wi th high levels of SPP and that i t is indeed these individuals who reported the poorest health and lowe s t levels of well-being. Other-oriented perfectionism was found to be unrelated to health and SWB. Findings revealed that when perfectionism is self-imposed (i.e., self-oriented perfectionism; SOP), i t is neither healthy nor unhealthy in an absolute sense. From the variable-centered perspective, this conclusion was supported by the f a c t tha t SOP was associated wi th both positive (e.g., be t t e r mental health and highe r levels of SWB in the student sample), and nega t ive correlates (e.g., higher levels of negative affect, stress, and neuroticism in both samples). Evidence f rom the chronically-ill sample further substantiated this conclusion by showing that there may be an optimal level of SOP, because mode r a t e levels of SOP we r e found to be associated with be t t e r health and highe r levels of SWB, whereas levels tha t we r e too low or too high we r e found to be associated with poor e r health and lowe r levels of SWB. Findings f rom the person-centered approach we r e particularly informative, in that they not only demonstrated tha t unique profiles of